BOWLING GREEN — Fraternity brothers and sorority sisters at Bowling Green State University will return to campus to see some chapter houses reduced to rubble as the university launches an estimated $30 million project to replace Greek housing.
Demolition of Greek units along Wooster Street has begun, and other units on Thurstin Street likely will be torn down early next month.
The university plans to build a roughly 150,000-square foot, 426-bed townhouse-style development to accommodate the university’s Greek system at the Wooster Street location. The Thurstin Street site will be made into a new parking lot.
PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU Greek Housing
BGSU boasts 38 fraternities and sororities and 1,600 members, or about 12 percent of the student body.
Construction on the new development will begin in the spring. It will be ready for occupancy by the fall, 2016, school year.
The project will feature 33 one-story and two-story townhouses — varying in size from four-bed, 12-bed, and 18-bed units — for individual chapters. The development replaces aging Greek houses built in the 1940s through 1960s.
“The housing was old and outdated to begin with,” said Steven Krakoff, BGSU’s vice president of capital planning and campus operations. “We also wanted to increase the percentage of students who elected to go into Greek life on campus and felt that housing is very much a part of that experience.”
The university has found Greek students are often highly involved in campus activities and remain engaged as alumni, he said.
The new, university-owned housing will provide about 50 fewer beds than the previous Greek units. About a quarter to a third of all Greek members live in chapter housing, said Chris Bullins, associate dean of students.
The new units will feature bedroom areas as well as residential kitchens and living areas. The units with more bedrooms also will have a multipurpose room for chapter meetings and activities, he said.
Many of those displaced by the demolition will move into residence halls on campus, and the university has tried to group those from the same Greek organization with fellow members.
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Each chapter can raise funds to add custom upgrades to their units, such as granite countertops or various wall treatments to create a unique space, said Tiffany Mitchell, a BGSU senior and president of Panhellenic Council, the group that governs many of the sororities on campus.
“We’re very supportive. We’re very excited even though it’s sad to see the housing come down with so many memories throughout the years,” she said.
BGSU will pay for the project through a debt issue, and finance it through room rates and fees charged to Greek chapters, Mr. Krakoff said.