North Texas Daily

New Greek Life Center to open April 2014

New Greek Life Center to open April 2014

New Greek Life Center to open April 2014
August 30
07:35 2013

Stacy Aguilar / Staff Writer

UNT Greek Life will move into a new facility at 621 South Welch St. on April 2014. The building, the first of its kind, will provide office and meeting space for UNT’s four greek councils.

“This kind of building is the first stand-alone Greek Life Center in the United States,” said Maureen McGuinness, dean of students and assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

According to research conducted by the project’s architect team, Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford, all other identified facilities are either located in a union, a separate campus building or some sort of mixed dorm unit.

McGuiness will manage the building once completed, and thus, has been involved from the beginning of the project to ensure the new building fits the needs of Greek Life at UNT.

Plans for a grand opening ceremony have not been confirmed, but one or two celebratory events will likely take place in 2014 to accommodate for Greek Life’s alumni base.

McGuinness said there might be temporary delays on the side streets, regarding transit changes resulting from the construction.

Photo by Zixian Chen / Intern

“The construction team is really good at planning when that’s appropriate, if they need to interrupt transportation and movement,” McGuinness said.

No facilities besides those impacted by the union construction will be relocated during the process. In October, the Greek Life Office will move to the Stovall Temporary Union Building until the move to the new building is finished.

McGuinness was enthusiastic and encouraged by recent feedback from students, who she says have been very appreciative.

Laura Lynn Peck, a communications senior in Chi Omega, believes that the new space shows an increased acceptance of Greek Life by the UNT community.

“The fact that the university administration is recognizing us with a Greek Life Center demonstrates their faith in the greek system to be a lasting group of leaders who has a positive impact on the UNT as a whole,” Peck said.

While some fraternity or sorority chapters have their own houses or lodges, the Greek Life Center will be a space available for all four councils – the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

“It is easy to let your focus slip to just your chapter, but the Greek Life Center is a place where we can all have access to important resources at a convenient location,” Peck said.

Asya Jones, a fashion merchandising senior in Alpha Kappa Alpha, is similarly encouraged by the opportunities the center will provide.

Graphic courtesy of UNT

“I am excited about the availability of space to host events and schedule meetings,” Jones said. “Centrally locating the Greek Life Office and staff is an asset, [which] will certainly assist new members with locating resources and networking with other members of the greek councils.”

Students have worked with the planning team throughout the development phase to provide suggestions on both aesthetics and function of the new facility.

“We had a subcommittee of students that gave us feedback on what they wanted in the building,” McGuinness said.

Since one percent of the construction budget of every building on campus must be dedicated to art, students will also be called on to select art for the center.

The building was placed with the current landscape in mind to follow the university’s push for sustainable, green design.

“We have built a structure that one, is central to the greek community, but two, takes into consideration the trees and everything involved,” McGuinness said.

Photo by Zixian Chen / Intern

The building will have access from parking lot 40 or from Welch Street. The one-story building will be positioned around a rotunda, which McGuinness hopes will display the Greek alphabet in the ceiling tiles.

The north side of the building will house administrative offices for the greek staff and the councils. There will also be a conference room and a large open space for chapters to use day and night.

Greek students will have card-swipe access to the building after 5 p.m. for events or meetings. There will also be a greek ambassador available, in case alumni or guests visit. The space has been designed to accommodate for rituals, traditions, alumni events and other special Greek Life programming.

“Having forty different Greek organizations, there are so many different needs,” McGuinness said. “Having full representation of all four councils helped us to understand a lot of their culture and what they do. It was really important.

Greek Life at UNT currently comprises about four percent of the student population. McGuiness said she hopes that in 10 years, that number grows to 10 percent.

Photo courtesy of UNT

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