LaGrange College to move fraternities to new houses

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 18, 2015

Donny Karr

LaGRANGE — LaGrange College is looking at refinancing a multi-million dollar bond in order to relocate fraternities to new houses.

The college has requested that the Development Authority of LaGrange issue revenue bonds in the amount of $33 million to refinance a $31.45 million bond issued for the college in 2007, which was used to build projects like the pedestrian bridge on Vernon Street, the Frank and Laura Lewis Library and new parking areas.

“The new bond would refinance their original loan, which they paid down to about $27 million,” said Bobby Carmichael, executive director of the Development Authority of LaGrange.

The bond would help LaGrange College fund construction of new fraternity houses near Cleaveland Field on Forrest Avenue.

“It will get them somewhere that’s not so close to neighbors,” said Dan McAlexander, president of LaGrange College. “It basically gives them their own isolated area.”

The fraternity houses will not be facilities that students can live in. According to McAlexander, two members of the executive committee of each fraternity will live in their house. The main purpose is so that they can have a meeting space and a place to have social events.

“We are building a science facility on the property where the Delt house is currently located,” said McAlexander. The new facility will be located on that property, as well as where the two parking lots are on either side of it.”

McAlexander said that the fraternity houses are too close to neighbors and need to be moved. He said that the college will be purchasing the houses from the fraternities and helping them relocate.

“All of our fraternity houses have backed up right next to neighbors,” said McAlexander. “They’re about 50 yards away from the nearest neighbor, which is just too close.”

The new fraternity houses will be surrounded by trees and a hill on one side, which McAlexander said should please nearby residents.

“They can get a little loud sometimes, even when they’re following the rules and doing what they are supposed to do,” said McAlexander. “We just want to give them some space.”

McAlexander said that the fraternity members are very excited about the move, even though some of the members are saddened to leave their old home, which he says holds fond memories for many fraternity members.

“The Delts have owned their house since the ’70s, which is a long time, so there’s a lot of emotion and sentiment there for them,” said McAlexander. “As they began to look at the new plans and see what they are gaining, they’re becoming very positive about the move.”

The property where the new houses will be located is set to be rezoned by the LaGrange City Council in order to allow fraternity housing in the R-3 zoning district. LaGrange College is hoping to begin construction for the project as soon as early August.

City Council held a public hearing Thursday to discuss the proposed revenue bond. No one spoke at the hearing.

Donny Karr is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2154.