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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Plans being finalized on new Fraternity Row

DEMOLITION OF OLD ROW WILL BEGIN IN MAY

With the announcement of the building of the new Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts in the location that is currently Fraternity Row, the college has also announced a plan for a new Fraternity Row.

The Row will be located across Evins street, on the other side of campus from where it currently is. Chief Financial Officer Barbie Jefferson says that the college hasn’t set the final timeline for the project.

“The timeline isn’t set in stone, but we have a plan,” Jefferson says. “The plan is to start razing the current Row after school gets out, and depending on the timing of the fundraising, start the new Row at the same time.”

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Jefferson says that at the earliest the new Row will be ready by February of 2016, meaning the college will go through a semester and interim without fraternity houses. Jefferson says the college will provide an alternative location for fraternities to meet during that time.

“We are committed to providing some alternative for that period,” Jefferson says.

Jason Burr, associate vice president for facilities and capital projects, says that it’s important to understand this gap is a part of the process.

“Even with the old plan there was always going to be a window where we would have to come up with an alternate plan,” Burr says. “At some point, a class has to bite the bullet.”

IFC president Graham Lenes says that he understands the necessity of the closing but hopes that the fraternities are given a legitimate timeline.

“We are resilient,” Lenes says. “We can change and adapt, but we need to know what we are changing, too. We need a set timeline.”

Jefferson says that the building of the new Row is also conditionally based on raising the money needed, so there is a possibility the new Row won’t be ready by February 2016.

There are still some funds available from the 2013 fundraising drive, when the intention was to build a new Row at its current location.

The new Row will bring other changes beyond the small period without a Row. Burr says the houses will be dramatically different.

“The footprint is almost twice as large as the current house,” Burr says, “so it’s a significantly larger structure. The design at the point we are at now would allow for a chapter room or a study room.”

Jefferson says the college is considering a few different designs.

“We are looking at different styles, some traditional, some Greek. None of that has been determined yet.”

Jefferson says some bigger decisions have been made.

“We are currently looking at single story houses that are separate but have shared common space. There will be some area between them that we hope will encourage collaboration and cohesiveness.”

Burr says students should understand that the new Row will be treated differently than the old Row, which Lenes says is “in disrepair.”

“This will be something that we maintain like the village,” Burr says. “This will be something that will help sell the college to prospective students.”

Burr also says that the creation of the new Row has bigger implications.

“It is important to stress that the college is committed to the Greek life system.”

One other change in the new Row will be the inclusion of sorority houses.

“This won’t just be a party space,” Jefferson says. “It is also good to get the women involved and give them their own space outside of Andrews Fieldhouse.”

If current events are an indicator the current shape of the houses, the new Row is coming just in time. The week of Halloween saw the Row temporarily closed due to issues that the Spartanburg Fire Marshall found while inspecting the houses.

“Basically they found a lot of combustible materials in the houses, like propane tanks, outdoor heaters inside,” Burr says. “It really wasn’t focused on the structures; it was more about how they were being used.”

Lenes says that the closure was a failure by the school and the fraternities.

“There is definitely a disconnect between the fraternities and leadership. It isn’t understood what is up to the fraternities to take care of, and what is covered under the rental concept.”

More details will become clear over the next month as plans are finalized and the planners meet with fraternity and sorority leaders to discuss their needs. Even with the excitement about the new Row, some students will miss the old Row, which is over 60 years old.

“There is a lot of nostalgia and the connection to the past will be gone,” Lenes says, “but we are excited about the opportunities of the new Row.”

Plans for the new Row are unfinished, but the college is moving forward with the project.
Plans for the new Row are unfinished, but the college is moving forward with the project.

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