Thursday, June 05, 2008

NC State Begins New Greek Houses

Greek Village kicks off with Sigma Nu destruction
Crews tear down first Greek house, Pi Kappa Alpha to follow next week
Chris Allred

The Greek Village Development Project made "historic" progress Monday morning as crews tore down the Sigma Nu house in Greek Court, according to Tim Luckadoo, the project's chair and associate vice chancellor for student affairs.

"[The project] changes the whole feeling of Greek Life," he said. "[The organizations will] own something that'll be here for many years to come."

The project to create a new Greek Village is split into about five phases, according to Greek Life Director John Mountz, with the houses Sigma Nu, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kappa Sigma being demolished at first.

According to Shelly Brown Dobek, assistant director of Greek Life, after tearing down the houses, the University will complete infrastructure restructuring in the lots for the four Phase 1 houses. After hiring an architect to design the buildings and raising the money to build, Greek organizations can build their new houses on the lots, Jim Phillips, landscape architect with Stewart Engineering, said.

Phillips said he will "be out here every day as construction moves forward," which is not typical for his position."But for projects of this scope and importance, I have the most construction experience in the office," he said.

The project also gives alumni an opportunity to contribute, according to Eddie Gontram, the architect designing the new Sigma Nu building. Gontram lived in the house that was demolished Monday about 20 years ago for four years, during which time he was a brother in the fraternity and a resident advisor, and said alumni of varying ages have contributed with money and ideas.

He said the new house will have a more residential feel, with mostly single rooms, and only two students sharing a bathroom instead of "40 guys surrounding one large gang bathroom.""It'll be something more in line with what incoming freshmen expect," Gontram said. There will also be more study areas and an emphasis on green building, which Luckadoo said will make the new Sigma Nu house the first fraternity house in the country certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Since there is not an existing Sigma Nu chapter at N.C. State, Dobek said, the fraternity's national staff has developed an "extension plan" to draw students in.

"You'll see more activity [from Sigma Nu] in the fall," she said.

The overall project is based on one the University of South Carolina used, Luckadoo said, in which the University leased land on which the fraternities can build. When their organizations own the house, Luckadoo said, it will mean more to students, and could also encourage more people to live in them and participate in Greek Life.

He said the project will change the whole feeling of Greek Life by getting rid of older, unattractive houses. "[Students will] own something that'll be here for many years to come," he said. And since the Greek organizations will choose architects, and ultimately a design, for their houses, it will also give each house a distinct personality, Luckadoo said.

Alexander Haywood, a sophomore in chemical engineering and member of Kappa Sigma, said it was a relief to see progress in the Greek Life project."This is something that's really, truly going to take place," he said.

Tom Stafford, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, watched the excavator plow into the Sigma Nu building, and said the building was the first of its kind at the University, and then the first to come down.

"Our Greek organizations need to know that the University supports them, and we want to have strong Greek organizations at N.C. State" he said. "This is a way to show that."