Monday, July 7, 2008
For as long as there have been sororities and fraternities at the University of West Georgia, there has been a dream for Greek housing and that dream will become reality this fall with a groundbreaking for a 262-bed Greek Village.
At the June meeting of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the Greek Village was approved on the Brumbelow Drive site currently occupied by Evergreen Apartments (known over the years as Brookwood Apartments and Jackson Courts). The chapter houses are projected to open for residency in Fall 2009.
The property was purchased by the University of West Georgia Foundation, Inc. in 2005 and was later transferred to Evergreen LLC. Improvements on the 26-acre track of land already include 400 additional parking spaces for UWG commuter students.
Currently six sororities and seven fraternities have committed to houses. Two additional fraternities are actively considering a house and several other organizations who are not currently active at West Georgia are considering becoming active and taking advantage of the Greek Village.
According to Dr. Melanie McClellan, vice president for student services, the houses will be owned and managed by UWG for the use of the organizations and their members. Houses are available for any fraternity or sorority who chose to commit to the financial obligations. Each organization will pay an annual chapter fee and individual students will pay rent for their rooms.
The Village will include a community building, an outdoor basketball and volleyball court, outdoor green space, parking and 18 houses in the following sizes: eight 20-bed houses; three 16-bed houses; three 10-bed houses; and six 6-bed townhouses. Each house will include a living/chapter room, kitchen, laundry facilities, a mix of single and double bedrooms, and semi-private bathrooms.
“As part of the university’s 2001 strategic plan, we committed to improving the quality of the university experience for students,” McClellan explained. “We have made many changes in the last few years to achieve that goal — building the University Suites and Arbor View Apartments, the Campus Center, and expanding out-of-class services and activities. The opening of Greek Village, along with the new Health Wellness Center and the stadium, will help make 2009-2010 an immensely exciting year for the university as we continue to be more of a destination institution.”
Phil Kauffman, member of the University of West Georgia Foundation Board of Trustees, worked diligently along with other board members to obtain the Evergreen Apartments property for the university to expand the campus and enhance the north entrance.
“As tenants left the apartments during the past three years, renters were not replaced because we knew other plans were coming together for university use of the property,” Kauffman noted. “The current residents, who occupy fewer than 50 units, have received 60-day notice to move to one of several complexes in town vying for their business.”
Kauffman noted that during the years that the UWG Foundation owned the complex, space for an after-school program and a clinic was provided free of charge. Sandra Morris, director of the Carrollton Housing Authority, is seeking space for the after-school program and hopes that a generous community member “will open their heart and donate space for these two programs.”
Lucille Whiten, assistant director of Student Activities for Greek Life, said that a location lottery was held June 17 for the organizations to choose their chapter house site. The organizations will have options to make each house more individualized by choosing custom doors, doorways, windows with or without shutters, and the style of columns. Interior upgrades include flooring, chair rails, crown molding, enlarged patios, etc.
Individual sororities and fraternities will be conducting their own fundraising campaigns to raise the money, primarily from their alumni, for the options they chose for their houses.
“The Greek Village will allow us to strengthen student life and the Greek community at West Georgia,” McClellan said. “National research continues to show that students who are involved in campus life are more academically successful than those who are not involved. Greek students at UWG have high graduation rates, are very involved in community service, and are active alumni. This Greek Village will allow us to make that system even stronger.”