In 1999, the University’s Board of Trustees agreed that university housing for the Greek community would be beneficial to the campus and approved plans to spend up to $4 million to develop a Greek Village site. USC spent the money for the acquisition and clearing of the land, while the sororities and fraternities were responsible for raising enough money to pay for construction. This village is located near the corner of Blossom and Assembly streets, the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center and the new basketball arena. Individual lots were leased to fraternities and sororities. Initial cost estimates exceeded $1.5 million for each house and each house holds approximately 38 people.
The University acquired the property near the old Gibbes factory, where 14 “row” lots are nestled next to the Wellness Center. The lots are leased to Greek organizations for 40 years at the cost of $41 per year. With 21 fraternities and 15 sororities on campus, the competition for these row lots (the more ideal sites) has been fierce.
USC divided the construction project into two phases:
• Phase 1 included construction on land USC already owns, such as the areas around Bates House near Cliff apartments, and where the campus police station sits on the corner of Wheat and Sumter Streets. (Nine (9) satellite lots were available near Bates house on Whaley Street and on the corner of Wheat and Sumter Streets.)
• Phase 2 included the construction of the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, as well as 14 Greek houses in a row near the old Gibbes factory, according to Jerry Brewer, Director of Student Life. (This was the preferred Phase for our chapter, KA, ATO, and Sigma Nu).
There was a strict selection process that each organization sought to participate in. Howevr, before an organization could participate in the selection process, it had to first prove that it had the money to fund the construction plans and operating costs.
These lots were limited and were available on a first come, first served basis. In 2001, ATO and KA submitted proposals to obtain one of the satellite lots but later both since decided to wait for the Phase 2 "row" lots. SAE decided also to build near the Wellness Center and not on a Phase 1 satellite lot.