Dedication ceremony will officially induct Zura Hall

by Emely Navarro, Senior Staff Writer

A dedication ceremony celebrating the transformation of Zura Residence Hall will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13.

Last year, Zura underwent its first complete renovation since the dorm was built in 1968.

The university decided to renovate the building after a facility condition assessment in 2012 identified significant maintenance issues.

Following the analysis, housing administration conducted its own internal review of all on-campus student residential facilities, Housing Administration Director Eric Hansen said.

Staff and students from the Facilities Planning, Design and Construction Division, Housing Facilities Services, Residential Education, and Housing Administration helped with the review.

After evaluating the results of the internal review and the facility condition analysis, SDSU concluded Zura needed the most renovation out of all residential halls.

“We like feel making the investment in our facilities assets will allow us to support the academic goals of the students, as well as meet our goals to operate increasingly sustainable buildings,” Hansen said.

The building was designed and built by Balfour Beatty Construction, HMC Architects and Mahlum Architects alongside SDSU representatives.

The designers opted for a surf theme after asking students for input and seeing how many people brought surf gear into the residence halls.

This led to collaboration with Jess Ponting and Carl Kish from the Center for Surf Research and the establishment of the new Adventures in Surfing and Sustainability residential learning community, which teaches students about environmental topics through a series of guest speakers, film screenings and field trips.

Once the hall was completed and opened for use, some students said the residence hall was too extravagant in comparison to the other ones at SDSU.

Hansen said the hall looks this way because Housing Administration feels it is their responsibility to provide an environment that helps the residents thrive personally, socially and academically.

Zura’s new features:

Gender-neutral restrooms on each wing of every floor

• Elevators that stop on every floor, instead of every other floor like before

• Resident rooms for students in wheelchairs

• More study and community space

• Sixth floor observation deck

“(The sixth floor) used to be a roof area that was not a safe place for students to gather,” Director of Residential Education Kara Bauer said. “The observation deck was intentionally created for students to enjoy.”

There are 17 residential advisers, nine academic mentors and 673 students currently living in Zura.

The building is also home to three learning communities: the Weber Honors Residential College, the Pride Community and Adventures in Surfing and Sustainability.

Zura Resident Adviser Michael Gonzalez has been an RA for three years and was previously an RA in the Olmeca Residence Hall.

He said he notices students pride themselves for living in Zura, but also realize the privilege they have.

“I love living in Zura,” said Tracy Bennett, a resident of the hall. “I think it is a very open and friendly environment. It’s super nice, but it still has the vibe of a dorm.”

Gonzalez also said he notices many more students come to Zura to study because of the building’s open layout and study areas.

For the hall dedication, the entire Zura staff will help give tours of the building and talk to guests about the changes and how beneficial they are to students.