Friday, December 07, 2012

VA Tech SigEps Move into $5 Million House


New Oak Lane project complete

Oak Lane has completed the first stage in an expansive new project, wrapping up the construction of a $5 million fraternity house.

Virginia Tech’s Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, commonly known as Sig Ep, has helped to start the Oak Lane expansion with the building of their new fraternity house.

The new house is the largest Greek house on campus and the only with air conditioning, according to Cameron Sheppard, a brother in the fraternity. The house has a full-size kitchen, library, conference room, multiple study lounges and large back patio that overlooks Tech's golf course. It also has five 55-inch flat screen televisions, copper drainpipes and gutters and a Hokie-stone fireplace.

Mike Cocke, a junior Building Construction Major and former VP of Programming for Sig Ep, said the house was needed.

“Our old house on Clay Street was built a very long time ago and is falling apart, which was our main motivation for trying to build a new house,” Cocke said. “We wanted to collaborate with the university in order to have a house on campus, which we were able to accomplish.”

Funds raised from the sale of the 402 Clay Street house were used for expenses in building the new house. The fraternity also contributed one-third of the total construction cost of the new house, a pricetag that includes furnishings. The university funded the remaining construction costs.



“The house is fully built with the exception of minor additions like security screen windows, so we are looking forward to move in at the start of the second semester, if not this weekend,” Cocke said.

Sig Ep’s brothers will be moving in as early as this weekend if the building passes its final inspection, which was scheduled for this week. The lease term will be for 50 years and the university will cover all operating expenses, including the costs for live-in staff, which will include a house-mom and graduate mentor.

“Thirty-five brothers will live in the house in addition to a graduate student, who will be both an Oak Lane Supervisor as well as our residential supervisor,” Cocke said.

The new house is the first in a planned expansion that will include potentially 16 more on the property between the current Oak Lane property and the on-campus golf course. The expansion will be built in a phased approach with the first phase providing for the first five houses.

The new Oak Lane houses will be owned by the university and become part of the housing system, similar to the current houses. The chapters may elect to have their own in-house food plans, or students may elect to purchase a university dining plan.

Virginia Tech alumni will contribute one-third of the total construction cost of each new chapter house through tax-deductible donations to the Virginia Tech Foundation. The university will fund site development and infrastructure costs, the other two-thirds of the total construction cost of each house and waive the normal 7 percent Virginia Tech Foundation fee.

“I am really looking forward to living in the new house in Oak Lane and having my own room in the Executive Parlor of the house,” Cocke said.  “It is a great opportunity for our fraternity to be a part of this great expansion project at Virginia Tech.”

The entire expansion is expected to be completed in the next 25 years.  The plan is part of the long-term overall university housing plan, which will include a new student recreation center and dining facility within walking distance of the Greek housing community.