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Black sororities finally part of building plans

Oct. 25, 2000

By EMILY MCWHORTER

Reporter

The plans for the Panhellenic building are taking on a new twist.

Tuesday afternoon, a Panhellenic meeting was held to discuss the latest plans for the proposed $5.5 million facility. Guests at this meeting included Dr. Martha Lou Scott, dean of campus life; Kathy Hillman, associate professor and acquisitions librarian; and two student representatives of historically black sororities that had previously not been included in the plans.

Scott presented the new campus master plan at the beginning of the meeting, highlighting the area for the new Panhellenic building. The building will be built behind the Harrington House in the Collins Residence Hall parking lot and will be about the size of Memorial Residence Hall.

The new plans for the building were then discussed.

'The building is very different from early brochures,' Scott said.

Some of the changes include a chapel and a prayer room. One of the biggest changes is in the basic structure of the building.

'Now the building is on the ground and will not have parking underneath,' Scott said.

Earlier plans had included a parking lot on the ground level.

Hillman said parking was a big concern for the plans, but there is no designated parking lot for the Panhellenic building. However, the new campus master plan also includes turning the nearby Lexington apartments into a parking lot, Hillman said. Baylor owns Lexington apartments, and Hillman said they currently are not in good shape.

Another possible addition to the building plans would be to include two new suites on the second floor. Bettina Fisher, Zeta Phi Beta president, and Natalie Houser, Sigma Gamma Rho vice president, said they are looking into renting those two suites.

One problem is that there are only two suites in the plans and four National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations, Houser said. However, Scott said the Panhellenic building could be redesigned even to add a third floor if needed. The NPHC includes the eight historically black fraternities and sororities on campus.

The two suites are larger than needed for the NPHC organizations as far as fire code regulations are concerned, Hillman said.

The four organizations are smaller than the other nine sororities that will be meeting in the building, Houser said.

Fisher said she would like to 'discuss ballpark figures' before looking further into Zeta Phi Beta renting one of these suites.

Scott estimated that the cost to rent the suites would be comparable to the fees for dormitories.

'There are lots of issues that need to be discussed,' Hillman said.

Houser and Fisher said the discussions have sounded promising so far.

'Our involvement has been very recent,' Houser said of Sigma Gamma Rho.

Fisher found out about the plans for the Panhellenic building at the end of last year. She said Scott planned on attending the next NPHC meeting to discuss the Panhellenic facility with the other two member sororities.

'I feel like they are going to work with us,' Fisher said.

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