Greek village on a University campus: the parking lot ... will give way to the houses
- This project to build a Greek village as a campus site sounds promising as a
design blue-print for a car free or at least walker friendly urban
Bowling Green, KY
March 13, 2006
Greek area a major plan
Village will dominate north end of Western Kentucky University
By BRIAN WHITE, The Daily News
When the members of the Sigma Chi fraternity chapter at Western Kentucky
University move into the planned Greek Village, they hope to trade their
single-family home for a 12,000-square-foot house, complete with a media
center, social hall and, maybe, an indoor basketball court. "It depends on
the lot we have and if we can have a basement,"; said Randy Bracey, the
Sigma Chi is one of five fraternities that will initially build homes in
the village, a project that will reshape the neighbourhood at the base of
the hill dominating the north end of campus.
The parking lot framed by 14th Avenue and Kentucky Street will give way to
the houses, and several streets in the area will be removed, while 14th
Avenue will be extended to stretch from College Street to Kentucky Street.
The village and other changes will improve the neighbourhood by adding green
space and a pedestrian-friendly area, Western architecture professor Neal
"This is going to be a cornerstone, if you will, for that section of
Bowling Green, which for a couple generations has needed some attention,";
said Downing, who helped draw up the covenants that place some requirements
on the fraternity house designs.
Western owns the land on which the homes will be built, and gave it for
free to the organizations, with the stipulation the homes fit with existing
This means buildings that are 80 to 90 percent brick, with certain roof
pitches and other details, said Western's director of student activities,
Charley Pride, who advises the Greek system on campus.
Each fraternity is responsible for designing and building the houses, Pride
"The land is theirs to build, and they will raise the money to build their
own houses,"; Pride said.
And so the fraternities have envisioned homes like Sigma Chi's with spaces
for sleeping, studying, meeting and relaxing.
New houses are important for recruiting new members, said Bracey, the Sigma
Just as universities across the country are building nicer dorms to draw
students, so are Greek organizations, he said.
"For student organizations like fraternities and sororities to compete,
they have to have housing that is at that standard or above,"; he said.
The new homes will also be an improvement in the quality of life for
fraternity members, said Joe Morel, adviser to Phi Delta Theta fraternity,
which has one of the five Greek Village lots.
"A lot of the houses that fraternities have nowadays have been in existence
for more than 100 years,"; Morel said.
Some of those houses pose safety issues, according to Doug Ault, director
of Planning, Construction and Design for Western.
"We've been lucky that we haven't had anything major in terms of structural
damage,"; Morel said.
For the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the move to Greek Village is not a
quality-of-life matter. An April 10 arson fire destroyed their house, and
members have been without a home since.
The other two fraternities participating in the Greek Village are Sigma Nu
and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Construction can begin as soon as Western extends some utility lines and
the city begins street realignment, Ault said.
The street realignment is being bid this week, and the city would like work
to begin soon, city engineer Jeff Lashlee said.
In addition to extending 14th Avenue, several streets in the area will be
permanently removed. Centre Street will end at the new 14th Avenue.
The piece of 14th Avenue that runs at an angle from Kentucky Street to
Centre Street will be removed, as will the curve on College Heights
Boulevard that turns right onto Centre Street.
Work on the curve is expected to begin in mid-April, and will close College
Heights Boulevard, Western Vice President for Facilities John Osborne said
at a Board of Regents meeting Friday.
The construction is expected to last through mid-summer.
Document ID: 110591F88E693D50
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