KKG, Chi O to move into houses in Greek Park
Construction began in May
Published: Sunday, July 8, 2012
Updated: Sunday, July 8, 2012 16:07
How do you feel about the construction?
The construction site eyesore among the otherwise well-manicured lawns in Greek Park has had UCF community members talking. Recently, it was announced that two new sorority houses, along with a complex called the Fraternity and Sorority Life Center, will be built on the west side of campus where the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house was once located, near the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house on Greek Park Drive.
Kappa Kappa Gamma and Chi Omega are the two sororities that will be moving into the new houses. These members of the Greek community may be deemed lucky by some to gain the new cribs. However, they certainly were not chosen at random, said Grant Heston, UCF News & Information’s associate vice president for communications and public affairs.
“It has to do with an application process. There was also an interview process that they went through and the ones who came out ahead at the end were chosen,” Heston said. “The construction funds are coming from UCF so UCF will own and operate the houses. There will probably be resident assistants there.”
Members of the Greek community have a little way to go before the houses are ready for move-in day. The new houses are well under way but are not expected to be finished until sometime in 2013.
Jessica Engalla, president of Chi Omega, refrained from commenting until plans are finalized and she said she didn’t want to get her “girls’ hopes up.” Engalla said she’d feel more comfortable talking about it once something is set in stone.
Kappa Kappa Gamma President Sarah Ford also declined to comment at the time of press.
Local company Powell Design Group stated in May 2011 that it was chosen to complete the UCF project along with Welbro Building Corporation, according to a press release on Powell’s company website. Powell is an architecture, planning and interior design firm.
Commercial construction company Welbro announced in March 2011 that it was given the project at UCF to provide design/build services, according to a press release on the company website. Out of the many various companies bidding for the project at UCF, Welbro was chosen to carry out the task.
“We usually do a presentation for the client and the cost has something to do with it,” Welbro project manager Paul Florence said. “We’re acting as a design/building project. UCF looks at the designs and approves them before we go anywhere with it. Basically, UCF has given us a budget number, and we try to meet that number and meet their aesthetic aspects.”
That budget is estimated to be approximately $5.3 million, Florence said. Welbro has been on site at UCF working and will be there until the job is done.
“We broke ground, I believe, on May 7, and we are contracted to finish in mid-February,” Florence said.
The new sorority houses aren’t the first UCF project Welbro has worked on. Welbro’s handy work can also be seen in the newer additions to the Recreation and Wellness Center, Florence said.
The new buildings will bear one unique quality, which is that they meet the energy-efficient standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In short, these new houses will be “green.”
“These new buildings we’re working on now will be built to the LEED silver standard,” Florence said. “The Greek life center will meet the silver LEED standard. The two houses will also meet LEED standards, making UCF one of the first campuses in the U.S. with LEED-standard housing.”
Silver is the third-highest rating a LEED building can receive.
So what prompted these university expenditures and construction? It was simple, Heston said.
“At UCF, we like to pride ourselves on meeting our students’ needs. This was one that was voiced to us,” Heston said.
One student who isn’t even currently involved with the Greek community at UCF explained how the addition of the new buildings may affect her.
“I am a freshman and haven’t rushed yet, though I have been considering it,” said Melissa Mertley, a freshman forensic science major. “Knowing that the university officials will go out of their way to make the students’ homes away from home more comfortable definitely makes me more likely to rush for a sorority here at UCF.