Sorority row housing construction is progressing at steady pace
JONESBORO, Ark. — Five new homes where members of Arkansas State University’s Greek sororities will reside are well under construction and progressing toward the target completion date of August 2013. Students are expected to occupy the homes in the fall of 2013.
“The opening of the sorority houses will further ASU’s efforts to continue forward progress for the university in recruiting as well as help to form a stronger attachment to Arkansas State with our alumnae,” said Dr. Rick Stripling, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “The sororities are really excited.”
Dr. Stripling said the sorority housing at ASU will provide additional quality housing to potential students and be competitive with other universities. He also pointed out that the sorority members who attend ASU and live in the homes would develop a distinct pride in the university that they will carry throughout their lives.
Construction of sorority housing marks the first time in ASU history that sorority chapters have had individual housing. Groundbreaking was held in April.
“The construction on the houses is progressing well,” said David Handwork, director of planning, design and construction for ASU Facilities Management. “Overall, the project is approximately 15 percent complete. However, the two eastern-most houses are 75 percent complete on the exterior, less grounds and landscaping.”
So far, Handwork continued, weather has not been a factor on the construction schedule. He said a commuter parking lot should be completed and turned over to ASU prior to the spring 2013 semester.
“Site work and landscaping will be the last items completed, being the primary drive for mid- to late summer,” he said.
Sororities currently utilize suites in University Residence Hall on campus for meetings and events. Last spring, ASU’s Board of Trustees approved the development of sorority housing in terms of location as well as providing capital bond funding to cover the cost site preparation and construction for homes to house members of sorority chapters Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Delta Zeta and Chi Omega.
University officials announced in July 2012 that Zeta Tau Alpha sorority was returning to ASU following the extension of the chapter by the national ZTA office. In addition, Zeta Tau Alpha revealed, as part of its re-colonization process, it would join the other four Greek sorority organizations in the planning and construction of a chapter house at the same location on Aggie Road across from Arkansas Hall.
Dr. Stripling said that a ZTA re-colonization banquet was held last weekend with over 300 students and their parents in attendance. He said that the organization must recruit after the regular rush process occurs at ASU as part of their national charter, but students are showing a strong interest and are looking forward to the completion of the five homes. Zeta Tau Alpha has added 86 members this semester.
“With the houses under construction, we saw a great response in our existing chapters,” continued Dr. Stripling. “All of the groups are completely supportive of each other.”
“All of the houses have the same floor plan,” continued Handwork. “Each house is 8,052 square feet. The interiors will have unique color options. Each house will have a unique front portico and variability in brick color to differentiate.”
Dr. Stripling said that the sororities have been looking at upgrades such as interior finishes, carpet, floor styles and other details. He noted that these upgrades will be at each organization’s own expense.
University officials have pointed to growth potential in Greek membership on the Jonesboro campus similar to significant growth in Greek membership at campuses across the nation. The organizations have outgrown space in the University Residence Hall.
Also, ASU’s enrollment has steadily increased for the last decade and the student population is growing faster than housing can be constructed.
The university owns the facilities for those sororities that have signed lease agreements guaranteeing occupancy and additional support from the national chapters for common spaces. Revenues generated by the lease agreements will repay the bonds issued to construct the sorority houses.