As part of Residential Life's plan to upgrade and enhance undergraduate living, six Fraternity Quad houses dating back to the 1930s and the founding River Campus architecture will receive a multi-million dollar investment by the University of Rochester to improve and preserve them for current and future students. The Residential Life investment in the Delta Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Psi Upsilon, Alpha Delta Phi, and Theta Chi houses will remedy deferred maintenance and also provide for the ongoing management of these historic properties.
The University expects to begin making the needed infrastructure improvements and interior enhancements to the houses in summer 2013, raising each one to Residential Life standards. The University will also at that time assume financial responsibility for the six properties, relieving the chapters of the onerous obligations of operating and maintaining the houses and allowing the students residing there, and their alumni advisers, to focus solely on the academic, leadership, and philanthropic missions of their organizations.
The moving of these properties into the Residential Life system is in accordance with recommendations made by a special Fraternity Quad Task Force—a committee of trustees and student and alumni fraternity members—that met over 12 months seeking constructive solutions to the deferred maintenance issues, while respecting the traditions and contributions to campus life inherent in the Fraternity Quad's organizations. The transition of the houses will not affect how the fraternities operate as student organizations or how they interact with their national chapters or alumni, but will significantly improve the physical state of the residences and enhance the fraternal experience for the students, said Richard Feldman, dean of the College. "We know that a positive residential experience is an extremely valuable component of campus life at Rochester, particularly for fraternity members," Feldman said.
Important to the Fraternity Quad Task Force was preserving the tradition of shared meals within each of the six fraternity residences. As part of the plan, the fraternities have been presented with several Dining Services options for daily meal preparation and service. The meal plans offered to the fraternities are based on current Dining Services options and pricing, and the houses will collectively decide which package best meets their needs.
Recently, the University has invested heavily in the maintenance and improvement of student housing and dining services, both to enhance the residential character of campus and to accommodate the growing undergraduate population. Chief among these projects is the $17 million, 52,000 square-foot O'Brien Hall and Jackson Court construction, opened to students in fall 2012. Other residential improvements include:
- renovations to Anderson Hall in summer 2012, including a new lounge and entry. Two new activity rooms on the first floor of Anderson are planned, as well as enhanced community spaces and bathroom upgrades in the Tower Residence Complex;
- the redesigned Danforth Dining Hall and new 24-hour Provisions on Demand campus marketplace in Susan B. Anthony Hall, opened in summer 2011. The dining center renovations focused on providing a more modern dining experience for students with an open-cooking station concept and fresh, made-to-order meals;
- the leasing of Riverview Apartments in 2008, creating a five-building, 120-unit student housing complex across the Genesee River from River Campus;
- numerous student safety enhancements, including new fire alarms and sprinkler systems in Residential Quad buildings;
- URWireless upgrades, providing greater Internet access throughout student housing.