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‘Pikes’ soon to call $1.5 mil house home

Submitted by Cheyenne Banner on September 5, 2012 – 4:05 pmNo Comment

SchematicConstruction will soon begin on a house for UALR’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity more than four years after an electrical fire claimed the first one.

The UALR Greek Life organization, also known as the Pikes, plan to begin the project after a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m.   Sept. 8 at the property directly across from East Hall Dormitory on Fair Park Boulevard. The “Pike house” is slated for completion by the 2013 Fall academic semester according to organization officials

Pi Kappa Alpha has been working to raise funds to build a new fraternity house for three years since they lost their former lodge in January 2008, to an electrical fire that started the attic.

The Housing Corporation examined the situation voted they decided to take responsibility in bringing together a team to build a new Pike house.

The organization has grown tremendously since then. Just three years ago the fraternity consisted of only eight members, but now the number sits at 42, according to organization officials.

In stark contrast to their old single-story house, with the new facility is planned to be a 9,200-square-foot, two-story house set up with like apartments. The house will cost in excess of $1 million and contain six two-bedroom apartments, housing a total of 12 members. Each resident will also have a covered parking space.

“This is going to be our first residential house we’ll have. The first residential house UALR has ever seen; more of a boast to the campus life” said Trey Gibeault, president of the fraternity.

The Pikes made their first step toward building the new house by demolishing the two houses that once stood across the street from East Hall on Fair Park Boulevard. The land  freed up by the demolition provided ample space for the start construction.

“We are clearly in good hands,” said former Pike President Ryan McConihay in a 2011 interview with The Forum.

The Pike’s alumni association and some campus organizations have helped the fraternity with their project.

“The very first donation to the new house building fund was from Dr. Jan Austin,” said Thomas Bratton, the Pikes’ adviser.  “The old house was in ruins, still smoldering, and Dr. Austin handed me a check. … What a vote of encouragement and confidence that was!”

The fraternity’s alumni association has been a major help with the project. With a budget of $1 million, the alumni association along with the Pike members, have worked together to conduct several fundraisers and directly contributed to the fund.

“That’s the best thing about it,” said Gibeault. “We have alumni now that are on the Housing Corporation, and they are doing donations, a ton of great things, while they still have their own careers, families and lives, but they are still giving back to the organization. It’s an example, just evidence of showing how passionate that these guys are.”

The project will take roughly 240 to 270 days to complete, according to organization officials. “At first I’m speechless, because I can’t believe it’s actually happening,” said Gibeault.

This construction commencement comes soon after the UALR chapter of the fraternity received the Harvey T. Newell Award at the 2012 Pi Kappa Alpha International Convention in Denver. The award was given in recognition of the chapter’s “exponential improvement in all areas ranging from scholarship to recruitment to campus involvement, according to Public Relations Chairman Tyler Moses.

Moses said the organization was also awarded for outstanding GPA achievements and recruitment techniques.

“The completion of the house will mark a milestone in both Zeta Eta and UALR history in that it will be the first residential Greek house near campus,” Moses said. “Zeta Eta alumni have been instrumental in planning and gathering funds for the project.”



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