April 15, 2011
The site of new fraternity housing was announced at the quarterly Board of Visitors meeting Thursday. The new housing, including 11 fraternity houses and one common building, will be located on Ukrop Way.
“[The houses will] affirm and strengthen fraternity life as an important William and Mary tradition,” Vice President for Administration Anna Martin said.
The announcement comes in response to a prolonged debate about new fraternity housing and increased on-campus housing for the entire student body. The 11 fraternity houses will hold 17 students each, or a total of 187 beds, adding 81,000 square feet of on-campus housing. With a $26 million price tag, the project is set to break ground in 2012 and be completed by 2013.
The location was selected out of nine potential sites. The chosen site will divert land from Yates Field and eliminate some parking near Yates Hall. In order to replace those parking spots, 96 spots will be added to the William and Mary Hall parking lot.
“The two biggest issues right now that most fraternities have with the administration are the housing situation and the alcohol policy,” Delta Phi president George Popps ’12 said. “The alcohol policy isn’t really going to change, so this is a step that the administration is taking, and I think the Greek community will react accordingly.”
The addition of fraternity housing opens up space in the Units for the rest of the student body. With the addition of 220 undergraduates over the course of the next four years, the need for on-campus housing is also increasing. Currently, about 75 percent of students live on-campus, and the College hopes to maintain these numbers.
“Every year, students get bumped,” Vice Chair of the Inter-Fraternity Council John Zachary ’12 said. “This is a way to make the Greek community happy and at the same time, give students room. It frees up spaces in the Units for more rooms to help alleviate the problems Residence Life is having, especially with the addition of students every year.”
The addition of fraternity housing has been a concern for the Greek community for an extended period of time. With a total of 18 fraternities recognized on the Inter-Fraternity Council, the plan offers 11 houses to fraternities. There are currently only seven units used by the fraternities, with the other fraternities located in Ludwell, lodges and off-campus houses. The process to decide which fraternities will live in the houses has yet to be determined.
“There is a task force [being] put together right now which is coming up with the criteria which I am on,” Sigma Pi president Shaun Schachner ’12 said. “We have been comparing what schools in similar situations have done in the past. We are still working on that and trying to come up with the fairest way possible.”
The estimated $26 million cost of the project will be funded principally through room fees. The houses will add 187 new beds to campus, costing $139,037 per student housed. In comparison, The Jamestown Residences were constructed in 2006 for a total of $29.7 million and added 389 beds, costing $76,349 per student housed. This is roughly half the cost of the proposed fraternity housing. Tribe Square, set to open this fall, cost $6.5 million for 56 new beds, or $116,000 per student housed.
According to Inter-Fraternity Council President Billy Kopp ’12, the proposed plan is a step forward for the Greek community and in the current housing situation.
“I am just really excited about moving forward with the new houses,” he said. “They will be a great addition to the community.”