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Groundbreaking for Panhellenic building slated after 20 years of planning

Feb. 20, 2001

By ERICA SANDS

Reporter

After more than 20 years of planning and fund raising, University Development will hold ceremonial groundbreaking Friday for the $5.5 million Panhellenic building.

The 55,000-square-foot building will be located at the corner of Ninth Street and Baylor Avenue, behind Harrington House. The building, which will eliminate a large portion of the Collins Residence Hall parking lot, will be a place where sororities can hold meetings, store materials and practice for events like 'All-University Sing' and Pigskin. In addition to a chapel and a computer lab for all students, the building will feature nine identical chapter suites, each complete with an office, two storage areas, a powder room, a small kitchen and a large open area for meetings.

Tam Dunn, coordinator of Greek Life, said that the new building will not only benefit sorority members.

'The chapel and computer lab will be available for all students to use,' she said. 'The computer lab will be the only (public) lab on that side of campus.'

Funding for the building is in its final stages. In May 1998, the IRS sent Baylor the approval for tax deductibility on donations and gifts for the Panhellenic building. Since then, donations have flooded in from alumni, parents, various chapters and pledge class fund-raisers and private donors.

'The response I have seen from this involvement has been incredible,' said Cathy Pleitz, Panhellenic campaign coordinator, in an e-mail to the Lariat. 'The campaign is within the $1 million range of meeting the $5.5 million goal and being able to begin construction.'

The groundbreaking ceremony, set to commence at 3 p.m. Friday, will last about 30 minutes and will feature several speakers. Major donors, including Stacy Riddle Baumgartner, a 1989 Baylor graduate after whom the building will be named, will be recognized. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony in the Memorial Residence Hall Drawing Room.

Across campus, there have been mixed reactions to the building. Several members of historically black sororities have expressed concern that they have not been included in the plans for the new building. The administration is currently meeting with members of these sororities to address the possibility of including them in the plans.

'We are so excited about the new building,' said Lindsay Will, president of Kappa Alpha Theta. 'It will be much better for recruitment and Sing practice since girls won't have to worry about driving all over.'

In addition to less driving, Will said the new building will make it easier for sororities to stay organized.

'I think having an office with a central computer will be a great asset because it will be easier to keep records,' she said. 'Right now, we keep everything at home.'

All students are concerned about the effects the new buildings' construction will have on overall campus parking.

'When you eliminate parking on one side of campus, students are forced to find alternative areas to park,' Andy Speer, a Huntsville junior said. 'The garage at the business school as well as lots all across campus will be affected.'