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New Era at SPSU

August 21, 2010

MARIETTA – Southern Polytechnic State University will officially open its new $38 million campus housing and dining facilities, including its first Greek housing, today at the Greek housing complex. There will be a 3 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a 5 p.m. tailgate barbecue.

The new housing consists of two separate complexes, which will increase the university’s housing capacity from 1,163 beds to 1,883. SPSU can now accommodate about 30 percent of its growing student enrollment of more than 5,000 students.

The Greek housing complex is called University Commons, and is located on Alumni Drive off South Cobb Drive. It is comprised of 10, two-story houses for 120 students. Seven of the houses will be home to seven fraternities and sororities, while two houses will house international students and one house will be for honors students.

Eleanor Rochelle, 22, of Cochran, a Gamma Phi Beta sorority member, said the Greek housing has become sought after by sophomores, juniors and seniors. Some of them began moving in Monday.

“Right now, everybody wants to move in,” said Rochelle, a senior majoring in construction engineering. “It was a vision before and they couldn’t actually picture it, so not everyone wanted to move in right away. But everybody’s super excited about it now.”

Hornet Village, located a short distance from University Commons in the southwest end of campus, has two, three-story dormitories that will house 600 students, excluding freshmen, in suite-style rooms. A new two-story, 16,000-square-foot campus dining hall is adjacent. The dining hall is open to the public.

Both of the residential facilities are wired with Ethernet connections, private phone lines, cable, wall-to-wall carpet and furniture.

“It’s a step up from the dorms,” said Kevin Gomes, 21, a senior from Brunswick.

Gomes, a resident assistant majoring in Internet technology, lived in one of SPSU’s few traditional dormitories last year. In the past, students have rented housing wherever they could find it near campus, said Kasey Helton, SPSU auxiliary services director.

The new housing and dining facilities were financed through the recently General Assembly-created agency, Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority, which sold bonds to raise the needed funds. The bonds will be repaid through student rent revenue. According to SPSU, that method of funding allows the university to build housing on a demand basis.

“We’re one of the first in the state to do it,” Helton said. “One of the things that we hope to accomplish is to give (students) a safe place to hang out and be on campus. So they’re not renting places 10 miles off campus, and driving back and forth in the middle of the night.”

The new Greek housing and residence facilities are part of more than $100 million of construction work at SPSU. Other projects include an 863-space parking deck, which opened in September, and an Engineering Technology Center and Studio Building I Annex, scheduled for completion in October.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – New era at SPSU