The design renderings of the possible new Lambda Chi Alpha house included vacating Beta Lane. Photos obtained by the Butler Collegian.
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Butler University administration is continuing discussions with the Lambda Chi Alpha housing board over the possibility of building a new Lambda Chi Alpha house on the vacant Tau Kappa Epsilon property. The property sits on West Hampton Drive between the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and Beta Lane.
In this possible agreement, the university would gain the current Lambda Chi Alpha house and adjacent land on Sunset Avenue for future campus development. The current Lambda Chi Alpha house is located across the street from the parking garage and within a short walking distance to both the HRC and Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“At this point [in discussions], we have just talked about Lambda Chi moving because we think it just makes sense for the university to own that [Sunset Avenue] property,” said Bruce Arick, Butler vice president for finance and administration.
The Lambda Chi Alpha housing board, which is comprised of volunteer Butler Lambda Chi Alpha alumni members, approached the university about two years ago to discuss possible renovations to their house, Arick said. Building permits require the housing board to notify adjacent land owners, which includes Butler University.
In response, Butler proposed potentially moving the Lambda Chi Alpha house to West Hampton Drive where all other Greek houses currently reside. From a long-term planning standpoint, Arick said the university’s goal is to eventually have all Greek houses in the same area of campus.
“At that time, we did have the [Tau Kappa Epsilon] property available and it was more just throwing it out there,” Arick said.
The conversations between Butler and the Lambda Chi Alpha housing board continued throughout the last two years, only slowing down momentarily in January 2017 when the fraternity was suspended from Butler’s campus.
More recently, new designs had been finalized, contracted by Rowland Design, for a new Lambda Chi Alpha house. These designs included vacating Beta Lane, the street between the Butler-owned property and the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house. In its place, a sidewalk and green space would bridge the gap between the two Greek houses.
The original proposal for a redesigned Beta Lane, which is currently a road between Alpha Chi Omega (right) and the abandoned TKE house (left). Photos obtained by the Collegian.
Just before winter break, Arick and Doug Morris, associate vice president of facilities, gave a presentation to Alpha Chi Omega’s volunteer housing board on the possibility of vacating Beta Lane. As an adjacent property owner, Alpha Chi Omega has to be notified of any building plans.
The Alpha Chi Omega housing board did not approve of the university’s design plans, citing issues with the removal of the 21 parking spots currently lining the street.
“We are currently looking for an effective way to deal with parking,” said Eric Rowland, chief architect of the Lambda Chi Alpha housing design. “We are changing the footprint of the rendering, and the scale of the first floor will get smaller but we don’t exactly know what that will look like yet.”
Conversations between the university and Lambda Chi Alpha’s housing board are unrelated to when Lambda Chi Alpha could feasibly return to the university as an active fraternity. Currently, Lambda Chi Alpha is not slated for a possible return to campus until spring 2021.
“Lambda Chi Alpha International Headquarters remains committed to working with Butler University for a time when Alpha-Alpha Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha can return successfully to the campus,” the headquarters said in an email statement.
As of today, a formal agreement has not been reached by both the university and the Lambda Chi Alpha housing board. Arick said both sides are still actively interested in discussions and pursuing a deal.
Various renderings of what a new Lambda Chi Alpha house could look like on the abandoned TKE property, as well as the original proposal for Beta Lane. Photos obtained by the Collegian.