Greek Village plans still on the table

Plans for the all-greek housing complex on University land are being reviewed.

Kevin McCahill

Plans are still in the works for a large-scale Greek Village apartment complex to stamp its footprint into University-owned soil.

Early this year, University administration had discussed the possibility of creating the complex in the 1700 block of University Avenue, but talks have remained stagnant since.

The idea of an all-greek housing complex began last year when greek members wanted to add more affiliated housing.

The project would cost $30 million, which would come from residents of the houses.

Eric Kruse of the Pegasus Group, an adviser to the Greek Village project, said plans are on hold while the University decides whether to lease the 1700 block to project directors.

Until that decision is made, nothing else can be done. Kruse said there is no definite time-table until the University makes its decision.

“Until we know we are going forward,” he said, “there are a lot of things we can’t do.”

Kruse said he wouldn’t discuss the layout or capacity of the building until the University allows the project to continue.

Brian Brothman, president of the Interfraternity Council, said he is unsure how to view the project.

“I haven’t made up an opinion,” he said. “It’s still in the beginning stages. Right now, it’s wait and see.”

Panhellenic Council President Abby Weinandt said part of the push for the Greek Village is an interest in keeping up with the amenities offered by facilities like Melrose Student Suites, University Commons or the Grand Marc.

“There is a lot that goes into the whole process,” Weinandt said. “There are so many pieces to the puzzle. It’s now in the process of figuring out the pieces.”

Weinandt is optimistic about what the village could be.

“I think it’s something that has great potential and something we need to keep investigating,” she said. “It’s been successful on other campuses.”

Some greek students may be worried that the new facility would take the place of chapter houses, but Weinandt said that wouldn’t be true.

“I don’t think that’s by any means the goal of the Greek Village,” Weinandt said. “This is expanded housing, not to take the place of (chapter houses).”

Weinandt said the University and alumni have been supportive in the process.

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for Student Affairs, said the president’s office is reviewing the plans.

“We want to go ahead with a very high quality type of program,” he said.

Rinehart said non-greek students may also be positively impacted by the proposed village.

“It depends on if other houses in Marcy-Holmes were vacated, there would potentially be open housing for students there,” he said.

According to Kruse, each chapter would need to raise money to participate in the complex; no money would come from the University.

There currently are similar complexes on campuses across the country, from Connecticut to California.

Part of the push for the building is that a lack of funding for many fraternities and sororities has made upkeep difficult.

Rinehart said a strong greek presence on campus is a positive for the University, as they help create and shape good students. He pointed to a 4 percent higher graduation rate for greek students on campus.

“A greek house is a living and learning community,” Rinehart said. “The greek system needs to have some infusion of support. They are an important part of the University experience.”