Greek housing project begins next planning phase to determine cost

After determining the location and housing type, the Greek Housing Team is moving on to the next step — cost and layout.

This step is part of a project that has been going on since this past March. The project provides Fraternity and Sorority Life with new homes and a location of the chapters’ choice.

This project will cost an estimated total of $28 million and will be paid for with University bonds and rent from students.

The housing team will go to the Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 22, 2013 at the Firelands campus to get the okay to borrow the money and to get the finalized cost estimates approved.

Even though money will be borrowed in order to build each townhouse, each chapter will have to come up with its own way of raising money to pay for its common room, Chris Bullins, associate dean of students, said.

“There will be some opportunities for the chapters to customize [the common room],” Bullins said. “So maybe they’re going to want an upgraded flooring, or crown molding, etc.; any of those upgrades would need to be paid for by the chapters.”

Each chapter will be given an unfurnished common room so it will also have to raise money if it wants it furnished.

The costs are different from regular residence halls, but Steve Krakoff, the associate vice president of capital planning and design, said they’re still pretty close in price range.

“There are a few things that are important here: there is the actual construction cost and the other thing is the rental rate that we will ultimately be charging students,” Krakoff said.

The construction part of the project has not yet begun.

“It is possible that the construction cost might be a little higher than it was for the new residence halls,” he said.

He said that the quality of the new housing will be the same as the residence halls.

“The base rent that will be charged to students will be comparable or fairly close to the residence hall costs,” Krakoff said.

The prices of rent per semester will include all utilities.

Before students left campus for break, the greek housing team presented to the Board of Trustees Dec. 7, 2012 to discuss price estimates for house rent and common rooms to get the permission to move forward.

“The board had a couple of questions about the timeline,” Bullins said. “They certainly wanted to know if the timeline could be accelerated and open sooner than the fall of 2016.”

Bullins said since the board authorized the team to move into phase three, it seems promising to do so. He said the final timeline won’t be determined until the next meeting with the board.

The town houses will be built at the Wooster location where the current greek houses are located, but Bullins said only certain sections from this location will be included.

“This site will include where the current horseshoe, old fraternity row houses are and Conklin East and West are,” Bullins said. “North Conklin will be staying.”

During the demolition and building, students will be in temporary housing.

Sarah Waters, director of Residence Life, has talked to her team about options of where to put the students, but nothing has been confirmed, Bullins said.

Waters will communicate with the fraternities and sororities to get their preferences on where their members want to live during the semester and to determine a more definite location.

The houses won’t have to be vacated for another full year, but Waters said they will be a step ahead by having these locations determined.

“The interim solution will not be comparable to what groups currently have because there’s no way to produce what they currently have [in interim housing], which might result in an issue,” Bullins said.

Bullins said even though he is worried, he still believes students will have a strong interest in joiningduring the period in which fraternities and sororities are located in temporary housing.