Fraternity to construct new house

Sigma Chi fraternity will build a new $6.2 million chapter



Renderings of the finished construction for Sigma Chi at WSU by PCS Structural Solutions.

GEORGE ERALIL, Evergreen reporter

Construction for a new house began on June 20 for the Sigma Chi Fraternity chapter at WSU, and it is expected to be finished in August 2020.

Project Manager Jeff Burnside said they will build the house on the vacant lot at 720 NE California Street. The lot used to be the site of the chapter’s old house which was torn down in 2003.

The project is estimated to cost $6.2 million, with construction alone costing $5.5 million, Burnside said.

“It’s very, very rare for a new fraternity chapter house to be built from the ground up,” Burnside said.

He said the building project will be the first one in almost an entire generation at WSU.

Burnside said because of the rarity of the project, the banks had a hard time appraising the value and viability of the loan.

“In order for a project to get bank financing, there have to be other examples of it somewhere in the region, so that the bank knows that they’re making a smart loan,” Burnside said.

Nevertheless, the loan for the project was approved by STCU-Spokane, cooperative credit union, because of the fraternity’s 100 year heritage and its reputation for producing socially valuable citizens, Burnside said.

He said the project will pave the way for new Greek construction to happen in the region by serving as an example for other fraternities seeking bank loans.

Brian Phair, CEO of PCS Structural Solutions said the house will be built in accordance with modern energy and building codes that lean toward sustainable construction. Phair is also a member of the WSU Sigma Chi house corporation executive committee.

Phair said that for every tree that will be cut down for the city mandated parking lot, they will be planting a tree back in the vicinity of the house.

“So we’re trying to do our best to make good sustainable choices,” Phair said.

Burnside said they set their goal for sustainable construction early on in the design process.

“About a third of the greenhouse gas emissions that occur around the world come from the built environment,” Burnside said.

He said the new building, although larger, will be reminiscent of the old house which holds a great amount of emotional equity for the more than 800 alumni.

The new house will also feature a memorial to former WSU President Ernest O. Holland who started the Sigma Chi fraternity at WSU, Burnside said.

“He was the guy who really started all of Greek Row at Washington State,” Burnside said. “And we’re proud that he was a Sigma Chi.”

Garrett Gluck, president of the Sigma Chi chapter said the new house will help boost the fraternity’s image in the university.

“We’re doing good as it is, but this will only help boost it, as far as recruitment for new fraternity members goes, and it’ll be a good look for us,” Gluck said.