University considers constructing “Greek Village” in High Performance Center parking lot

Master plan could include plans to centralize Greek houses J

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University considers constructing “Greek Village” in High Performance Center parking lot

A new

A new "Greek Village" for fraternities and sororities is being proposed for the UND campus.

A new "Greek Village" for fraternities and sororities is being proposed for the UND campus.

A new "Greek Village" for fraternities and sororities is being proposed for the UND campus.

Jacob Notermann, Staff Writer

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The University of North Dakota is working to rezone the High Performance Center parking lot in order to pursue a “Greek Village” housing concept.

Greek Village refers to UND’s concept of having all of the Greek houses in one area just east of Columbia Road.

While the university said they aren’t purchasing any land owned by chapters nor forcing any chapters to move, this concept will likely be part of the university’s “Master Plan” that is set to be released in February.

Mike Pieper, UND’s Associate Vice President of Facilities, said if the rezoning plan is fulfilled, chapters seeking to build new houses will have the option to either buy or lease the new lots.

“Some of them are owned and they want to remain owned,” Pieper said. “We’re not against either way.”

The parking lot that currently occupies the zone will not be completely torn up for the new development. According to Pieper and the concept maps, the only sections of the parking lot that would be available are adjacent to University Avenue.

The university would only tear up the sections of the parking lot with concrete plans for houses to be built, meaning there will not be open grass lots replacing the parking lot along University Avenue.

Pieper said the university is reevaluating land use as well as giving chapters with infrastructure problems a long-term option with a new house in the rezoned areas.

“Just that visual aspect of where do you actually enter campus,” Pieper said. “Is it (after Columbia Road)? No, it’s actually (after 25th Street) and then you have a big parking lot at your entry way on University. Would houses be a more visually appealing thing? The general conversation was ‘yes.’”

He said there are no current plans with any Greek chapter to begin building in the new area. However, he did say there has been discussions with Kappa Delta, who are currently residing at the Conference Center on University Avenue.

The Conference Center is on the university’s “demolish list” and their lease runs out in May, but the university will not be forcing them out of their house until a long-term solution has been reached.

Other chapters simply weren’t aware of the plans when reached for comment. The university will be approaching the Interfraternity Greek Council about Greek Village in the upcoming weeks.

The possibility of Greek Village being developed could impact how the university is able to monitor Greek life on-campus.

Marshal Swenson is the President of Alpha Tau Omega, a fraternity that has already begun the process of building a new house on the lot next to Christus Rex on University Avenue. This lot lies outside of the conceptual Greek Village area.

“From what I’ve seen, when the university gets something, they regulate it hard,” Swenson said. “Greek life gets a really bad rep on this campus – for some good reason, I mean there are things that made me sick about it.”

Although Kappa Sigma is claiming neutrality on the issue until discussions progress, Kappa Sigma President Dan Klaver said, “The only foreseeable inconvenience with something like this is that many members of the Greek community that live in their chapter houses utilize the parking lot located on the south side of University Avenue.”

Meanwhile, Sigma Phi Epsilon President Dylan Hughes said a central area for Greek life would bring more traffic to their end of University Avenue.

“The impact to the Greek Community is a tough concept to determine at this moment, but I believe a central location allows for more positive relations and interactions between the chapters here on campus,” Hughes said.

Jacob Notermann is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]

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