Greek Housing May be Located at Regents Parking Lot

Andrew Oh/UCSD Guardian

The Greek Housing Project has a name and a new location: New Athens is now slated for construction at the northeast side of the Regents parking lot.

“Initially, we had our eyes on the La Jolla Shores property — just off of main campus and used it as the first model for our early work on the project,” Greek Housing Initiative Committee’s Panhellenic Vice Chair Jillian Wolter said in an email. “But as the project developed, we realized that the location is key, and our goal to bring students together and build campus spirit would be easier achieved on campus.”

Wolter and committee chair Michael Raimondi announced the changes at the May 4 A.S. Council meeting.

Raimondi said the committee changed the location because students would be able coordinate events more easily on campus than at La Jolla Shores, but that the location is not set in stone.

According to Raimondi, the projected cost of buying the land for the development would be around $7,000 per current parking space. The committee hopes to negotiate parking and create another parking structure.

Raimonidi plans to finalize all details by June 2012 and hopes to begin construction in 2017. He also said that the location was chosen for its proximity to the light rail transit, which is expected to begin operation in 2015 and will connect students to campus.

“My goal is to create access both to campus itself and to San Diego without the demand for a car,” Wolter said. “We are working on ways to integrate the housing project to the new rail system to provide residents with effortless transit options to hopefully alleviate the traffic congestion as well as the parking problem on campus.”

Raimondi said the complex’s new name was inspired by Plato, and that he wanted something that symbolized scholarship.

“I just thought of Athens,” Raimondi said. “But I didn’t want Old Athens, so I thought, ‘Oh, New Athens.’”

Currently, the committee is pulling ideas from other campuses with Greek housing, and also seeks student and university input.

The committee is working to forge ties between the Greek community and the Housing, Dining and Hospitality department as well. Raimondi hopes that HDH will fund the project. In a Feb. 10 Guardian article entitled “Housing for Greek Orgs Could Be Built Along La Jolla Shores Drive,” Raimondi said the committee aimed for a $60-million project.

Raimondi said HDH has discussed the possibility of taking on debt and bonds to fund the project. He cited the example of how HDH is paying off housing construction in Eleanor Roosevelt College. ERC’s housing project costs about $310 million to build and HDH took out $110 million, which will be paid off over 40 years.

The committee projected an estimate of 781 students for the initial phase of housing. They factored in Panhellenic and InterFraternity Councils but not the Multicultural Greek Council because they did not get rosters in time for the meeting.

According to Raimondi, the committee plans to work on models for the housing later on. The fees would be universal continuation of on-campus housing, and individual chapters could personally negotiate extra amenities.

Campus alcohol policies would apply to Greek housing.

“People who want to party all the time don’t want to live on campus,” Wolter said. “The people who choose to live on campus have to be willing to adhere to university standards.”

Wolter said the committee is waiting on greater administrative support before assessing the Greek community’s interest, as it doesn’t wish to get the community’s hopes up.