U commits $100,000 for Greek Village complex plan

The coed housing would be located behind fraternities on University Avenue.

Vadim Lavrusik

Developments in recent months have inched the Greek Village project closer to reality.

In late October, the University pledged $100,000 to fund a pre-design plan of Greek Village, a proposed 100,000 square-foot all-greek coed housing complex on the 1700 block of Fourth Street Southeast.

The complex would sit behind the fraternity houses along University Avenue.

Greek Village was originally proposed to University President Bob Bruininks in October 2004 as a way to address the long-term issues of old greek housing.

Many of the old houses don’t accommodate enough students to support the housing units financially.

The design will help the University decide whether to support the project, said Jerry Rinehart, vice provost of Student Affairs.

A predesign plan will give the University a much more detailed description of its feasibility and what the project would look like, he said.

“That area is currently parking, and with stadium construction we are concerned about the impact on parking,” Rinehart said. “Another reason why we need a thorough study before we come to head with something.”

The University wanted to contribute to the predesign plan, which could cost as much as $250,000, he said.

If the Board of Regents approves the project design, a decision will be made as to whether the University will help support village construction financially.

Greek Village Work Group, an internal group of greek alumni and undergraduates responsible for the project, will have to provide the rest of the predesign funding.

The group will meet on Monday to discuss the project.

Doug Carlson, vice chairman of Greek Village Work Group, said the funding will most likely come from the equity of greek houses.

Carlson said it’s possible some of the money will come from greek alumni.

After the funding is raised, the group will hire a firm to create a predesign plan, which could take anywhere from one to two months to create, he said.

University officials and the greek community would meet to finalize a design once it’s finished. If Bruininks approves the design, it would go to the regents for approval, Rinehart said.

Greek students said the project would be the first step toward addressing a need for housing in a growing greek community.

Interfraternity Council president Alec Catsuros said the housing complex would be able to provide housing for first-year greek students who aren’t able to live in their chapter house.

“We’re a growing community and it provides us with more living options,” Catsuros said.

Some of the houses are almost 100 years old and need serious renovations, he said.

The city has also designated the greek houses as historic sites to be preserved, so any construction will have to work around the current restrictions, he said.

Although the University committed $100,000 for a predesign plan, the money doesn’t mean they will support the project.

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the University doesn’t entirely support the village idea yet.

Pfutzenreuter said Bruininks first wants to see the design work and a financial analysis of the project.

“The president felt this was a good partnership to keep it moving forward,” he said.

The University funding, he said, came from a central reserve fund, which is collected through interest earnings.