Town homes planned for new Greek housing

Reporter and Reporter

The Greek Housing Team continues the project to build new houses for sororities and fraternities in the upcoming years by taking feedback to move on to the next phase.

Chapter presidents met at a September meeting of the Board of Trustees, where they discussed a location and the type of houses to build based off of chapter members’ feedback and preferences.

The types of buildings each chapter got to choose from were town homes, residential and the standard house, according to an April 2 article in The BG News.

Even though chapters liked the standard houses, it was not ideal for them to build because of costs, said Chris Bullins, associate dean of students.

“One of the things we told them was that the standard houses were a popular choice, but the University was not going to be able to provide finance for those,” Bullins said. “They are a higher cost to build and we see them as a greater risk to be able to fill and maintain the revenue stream we need to pay the debt.”

The University is willing to provide funding for town homes or the residential homes, Bullins said.

“We talked about how we’ve really been focusing on providing the chapters the various prototype options with floor plans and we have specifically been focusing on town homes,” Bullins said.

Every chapter agreed the town homes were the best option because the creatre more privacy, Bullins said.

“We took each chapter’s feedback on their preference in order to move forward,” said Sarah Waters, director of residence life.

Casey Greene, panhellenic representative on the Greek Housing Board, said she couldn’t be happier with the town home decision.

“I believe the chapters who have requested town homes made a great decision,” Greene said. “I’m excited about the direction of this housing project. We have come a long way.”

The town homes will include two to three floors and the entire unit will belong to each chapter.

“They liked the town homes because the residence hall option had the chapter rooms down on the first floor and the top floor would have the dorm rooms,” Bullins said. “That option was too much change at once for them.”

Because the Greek Housing Team received positive feedback on the town homes, it has gone forward to make floor plans for a 12-bed, 18-bed and a 29-bed town home and discussed the costs of what each room would be.

The group is working on a price estimate of what a single and double room would be as well as the cost for their multipurpose room, Bullins said.

“In addition to the people who live in and rent, there would be an additional fee for that chapter or multipurpose room,” Bullins said.

The team has been developing estimated rent rates and the multipurpose room fee would be unique to each chapter depending on which floor plan each chapter chooses, he said. The chapters will decide amongst themselves how they want to pay the fee for their multipurpose room.

The homes would have residential kitchens, opposed to each house’s current large kitchen and cook, Bullins said.

“The plan is that none of these facilities, moving forward, will operate meal plans out of them,” Bullins said. “The residents will be on the University’s meal plan.”

The team then asked the Board of Trustees for one more round of additional feedback from each chapter on what each liked.

“We flushed out the floor plan so we wanted people to rank it one more time,” Bullins said.

The team showed the Board of Trustees that the town houses were still the chapters’ preferred option and moved on to finalize a location for the houses.

The first proposed location is across from Thurstin Avenue on both sides of Pike Street and the second proposed location is what is currently Fraternity Row, including Conklin East and West.

The team polled chapters to see what their preferences were.

“The Wooster Street site was more popular by a spread of two-thirds to one-third,” Bullins said. “There was some hesitancy about the current sorority row site because they would have to be separated across the street. There were some safety concerns expressed about crossing Thurstin [and living] closer to the train tracks and furthest away from the athletic facility.”

Chapters liked the Fraternity Row location more because it is in-between the main buildings for classes and the Student Recreation Center.

The new village would also bring the chapters closer together and strengthen the community, Greene said.

The housing team is near the end of this phase and its members are looking forward to beginning to design of each chapter’s building, Waters said.

“The plan is to meet again on Dec. 7 to recommend a plan of action and get their permission to move forward, to hire an architect for the project [and] the construction company, [secure] the debt and [begin] to work,” Bullins said.