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Sorority Row plans stay stagnant

by Staff

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San Diego State’s plan to build Sorority Row in the campus area has been set back because of the mismatching budget numbers of the SDSU Foundation and several contracting agencies. The project cannot reach completion in time for the 2006 deadline, which was originally set by the Foundation in 2001.

“We have now downsized Sorority Row without limiting the scope of the project,” said SDSU Research Foundation Director of Community and Public Relations Theresa Nakata.

Nakata said that by re-evaluating and redistributing Sorority Row plans, the Foundation has been able to cut the cost of the project by more than $2.3 million.

“The physical appearance of the building remains the same, but the interior design of the plan has evolved,” Nakata said.

If built, chapter houses would provide SDSU sororities with an opportunity to reside in a modern, custom-built, communal setting. It would be similar to what is currently available for several Greek men on Fraternity Row.

“A lot of the sorority houses surrounding campus right now do not house as many women as their chapters would hope,” Nakata said. “Sorority Row will provide an increased amount of housing for sorority members.”

The Foundation was originally working to fund both the building of Sorority Row and the Paseo project. SDSU, however, recently took over the Paseo project, allowing the Foundation to focus on completing the Sorority Row project.

Although the Paseo project is being stalled because of disparities in financial estimates similar to that of the Sorority Row project, Nakata said that the status of the Paseo project does not affect the status of Sorority Row.

“Sorority Row is being funded completely separate of Paseo,” Nakata said. “Every project that we build has to stand independently.”

Doug Case, coordinator for the Center of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said Sorority Row is not necessarily being slowed by the status of the Paseo project.

“The SDSU Foundation is committed to the building of Sorority Row, but that is not true for the Paseo project,” Case said. “These projects are independent of each other, and if Paseo fails it does not at all affect the completion of Sorority Row.”

The budget for the Sorority Row project was originally set at $2.5 million in 2001 and has now been increased to $30 million by the Foundation, Nakata said.

The alterations to the Sorority Row project include downsizing the potential parking structure by 14 percent, moving the location of the planned spa and pool, as well as reducing the sizes of the apartments in the area by 13 percent.

“We have saved ourselves a lot of money without losing any of the comfort or appeal of these developments,” Nakata said.

In the meantime, two sororities, Sigma Kappa and Delta Gamma have expressed serious interest in relocating their chapter houses to Sorority Row once the project is completed.

“We were very excited when we saw the plans for Sorority Row,” said journalism junior Leslie Moore, the Delta Gamma sorority president. “I think that with the building of Fraternity Row a few years ago, it allowed for fraternity men to make friends in other houses because of the close setting.”

The combination of construction delays have forced sororities such as Alpha Chi Omega to waver in their future housing plans.

Alpha Chi Omega President and pre-business sophomore Kimi Marshall said the sorority initially considered moving into Sorority Row but has since reconsidered partaking in the project because of the change in plans.

“The contractors of the Paseo project were supposed to have hold of our property by now,” Marshall said. “But now that the Paseo project has basically been killed, we are remodeling our house and stepping away from our original plan that included moving our chapter to Sorority Row.”

Marshall said that Alpha Chi Omega showed blueprints of the Sorority Row project to potential members during the week of Sorority Rush in fall 2005.

“I think that our newest members were the most upset that they will not be able to live in a house with their sisters next year,” Marshall said, referring to the fact that the renovations on Alpha Chi Omega’s house, which is located in the Paseo district, will not be completed until Fall 2007.

Nakata estimated that the construction of Sorority Row would be complete in a couple of years.

“It is all about timing when it comes to the completion of this project,” she said. “We want to get done quickly because we are all very excited about Sorority Row.”

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