University of Georgia architects may consider minor alterations to the Terry College of Business's construction plans since Sigma Chi has agreed to terminate the fraternity's lease agreement, according to UGA officials.
UGA announced Friday during a public meeting that private donors had bought out Sigma Chi's lease for their Lumpkin Street location, said UGA's Tom Jackson, Vice President for Public Affairs. The agreement's finalization means construction on an expanded Terry College could soon begin and fund-raising for the project can continue.
Jackson said the Terry expansion, called the Business Learning Community, is receiving positive feedback and has been in the works since the 1990s.
"There's a lot of excitement on campus about the new facilities," Jackson said. "There could be some temporary use for [Sigma Chi's] building. Now that architects have the option, they might do some minor reconstruction up against that property line. But eventually you would expect that it would not be there anymore."
Sigma Chi's lease was bought out for $4.7 million, with the expectation that fraternity members must vacate by June 30, 2014.
"Sigma Chi signed a 40-year lease with the University for that property in 1996. The lease included an agreement for an additional 40 years, so basically the private donors bought out the remaining 64 years," said Tom Jackson, UGA vice president for public affairs. "The current fraternity house location will be just immediately next to the buildings, but I think Sigma Chi decided they didn't want to be next to all of that construction and be up against academic buildings."
Terry plans to build four new buildings in the lots near Hull, Baxter and Lumpkin streets. Construction is expected to begin in 2013, and will be completed in three phases.
Jackson said plans for the future of the fraternity building are uncertain at the present time.
"There could be some temporary use for the building," Jackson said. "Eventually you would expect it to not be there anymore."
Sigma Chi has been the subject of local controversy recently. The fraternity has expressed interest in in the Cobbham district, Jackson said he is uncertain where the fraternity will eventually move, but that location decisions were made independently of UGA.
"They're a private organization, so they'll have to work it out with the community," Jackson said. "It would be their option to go to River Road if they so desired. But I don't believe they've expressed any interest."
Jackson also said it is unlikely Terry will be relocating completely during the construction process.
"Phase 1 will not provide sufficient space for Terry to relocate so they will continue to use Brook and Sanford Halls," he said. "As the other phases come along there may be enough space for them to completely relocate, but at the moment that's not the plan."