Arizona building bigger and better dorms

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The University of Arizona is running out of room to build. So, they're building bigger and better dorms in the space they have left.

The University of Arizona says its new dorms will set the standard for student housing.

The U of A's newest residence hall is named Arbol de la Vida.  It's Spanish for, "Tree of Life."  And the five interconnected buildings are anything but your average dorm.

"It is unlike any residence hall that I've been in and it makes me wish I was a first year students again with the opportunity to live here," said Community Director Chris Anderson.

Anderson won't live there, but he'll work there as community director come next fall.

An average dorm holds about 300 to 350 people, this one will hold up to 720.

"We have very very few building sites remaining and so everyone that we use has to be used as efficiently as possible. And that means going up," said Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Van Arsdel.

That means filling it with as many students as possible. They'll all live in doubles, but the building will have modern features.

"There is nothing in this building that's old fashioned.   It is totally 21st century," said Anderson.

Spacious hallways, green energy outlets, and even thermostats that sense movement are just some of the perks.

Climb to the top and the views aren't bad either.

"I'd like to say that it's a lot different," said Arsdel.

Different.  One of a kind student living.

"There's a deep opportunity to form a deep and lasting community.  It really becomes a magical place for someone to live," said Arsdel.

There's still a lot of work to do before opening up, but university officials say it'll be ready for furnishing this April.

This isn't the only dorm nearing completion at the U of A.  Likins residence hall is slated to be "substantially complete" in March.