Pikes find a place of their own
While plenty of Greeks call UALR home, only one of the organizations actually have a house at UALR. However, with the purchase of two lots, strong alumni support, and a big project ahead of them, the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) will soon have a place in the neighborhood to call their own.
“Greek life is difficult without a house,” Pike President Ryan McConihay said. “Where do you go? Where do you have events? Our alumni association understands how important it is to have a house and have been instrumental in helping us get one.”
To date the Pi Kappa Alpha Alumni Housing Association has raised $110,000 in donations from Central Arkansas Pike Alumni, with which they purchased the two lots on Fair Park Boulevard across from East Hall.
“The lot has always been on the board as a potential spot for us, but it was never with the intention of keeping the houses on there,” McConihay said. Demolition of the current properties is scheduled to begin this summer. “We should have a temporary lodge up by fall semester,” he said.
While the alumni association has raised a substantial amount of money for the project so far, their goal of a half million dollars is not quite met. “The plan is to eventually build a live-in house, with four to five bedrooms, of about 5500 square feet. It won’t be anytime soon though,” said McConihay.
Whether the fraternity plans to continue building on the lot they already own, or move elsewhere is currently undecided. “We want to work with the University of Arkansas Little Rock in possibly building a Greek Row on campus in the future,” said Randy Mourning, president of the Pi Kappa Alpha Housing Corporation.
Until then, all the Greek houses, either are or have been owned by the organizations. Jenny Hunt, UALR Greek life advisor, explained that as such, even houses nestled in the heart of UALR are technically considered off-campus.
This means the Greeks are at the mercy of the neighborhood associations.
“Fortunately, we have gotten 100 percent support from them,” McConihay said. “They seem excited to have us moving in, rather than some of the drug users or squatters that would otherwise occupy the property.” This mentality is mirrored on the sign newly staked on the property; “Neighborhood Beautification and Revitalization by Pi Kappa Alpha.”
The fraternity’s previous house burned down three years ago.
“There was an electrical fire — some bad wiring sparked and took out the attic,” said Zach Martin, Pike brother. “It really wasn’t our fault, which our alumni association realizes and is why they have been so supportive in getting us a new, safe place,” Martin said.
In fact, it was connections and the quick action of the alumni association that had the torched house demolished before it became any more of a threat to the campus. Amongst the alumni of Pi Kappa Alpha are two Little Rock developers, Ron Lazenby and the aforementioned Randy Mourning who have built The Promenade at Chenal and a myriad of restaurants around town respectively.
“We are clearly in good hands,” McConihay said. “They (The Alumni Association) are really making a lot of the decisions when it comes to the housing situation, and then just relay to us what actions they are taking. Our responsibility is to keep our grades and involvement up and recruit as many good guys as we can.”