[asusig] New housing presentation by ASU Mon, 25 Nov 2002

I attended both sessions this evening of a presentation that ASU had the Architect and the Private Management company that will run the "Small Group Cluster Housing" (the use of the word cluster is quite appropriate when you see the description further down) project to show us what a wonderful new utopia they will be building for us and the other Fraternities on the "South" campus. They showed us all seven or so phases that are planned for this area in addition to that encompassing the Housing described below.

Well to sum it up in a single sentence - as Fraternity Houses they will make nice Freshman Dorms for non-local students.

Now some details just pulled in order from my notes.

1. Location Bordered to the South by the railroad tracks that run at the half mile point between Apache Blvd. and Broadway Rd., to the east by Rural Rd to the west by the Sonoran Dorm (separated from the dorm by a pedestrian walkway) and to the north by the bike trail that runs at about the 1/4 mile point south of Apache.

2. Last item on their list that they are considering (and it is not even planned) is how to safely move students across Apache Blvd to the Main Campus. There is talk of a Bridge (ala that over University Dr) or a tunnel but no plan and no commitment.

3. Not one single parking space is planned for this development that will house at least 560 people! The closest parking will be a half mile away on the other side of Apache Blvd. The neighbors to the northwest of this development will be the Adelphi Commons where the Sororities were moved to and for whom no parking was built either.

4. The first phase calls for building a line of eight identical building. The front door will open onto the pedestrian walkway across from Sonoran Dorm. Entering the house through this door will find you in what they are referring to as the "Chapter Room" will obviously double as a living room and foyer. This room will be about 1,200 sq feet, certainly not big enough to accommodate an actual Chapter Meeting. Unless of course all the furniture is moved out and everyone stands shoulder to shoulder.

Continuing into the building you will come to two small 180 sq. ft. rooms. The room on the left will be a study/office and the room on the right will be a kitchen with the typical type appliances that you would find in a single family tract home, one fridge, one stove/oven and one dishwasher. There is no dining room. Don Anderson from Delta Sig asked the question "Why bother?" No additional University owned dining facilities are planned to accommodate these University housed (or is that hosed?) students either.

5. The bedrooms will be arranged on the first, second and third floors into two man suites that share a bathroom between the two suites. The second and third floors are reached via one of two staircases at either end of the facility. The front door of the suites empty into courtyard if you are on the first floor or a balcony that looks down into the courtyard. The back end of the courtyard faces Rural Rd.

6. 45 feet across the courtyard will be the back wall of the next cluster which comprises the shared bathroom facilities of that building. There will be non-functioning windows mounted high up on each floor with the glass frosted or otherwise treated so that they will just let in light.

Just imagine what this concrete canyon courtyard will be like in August/September/October and March/April/May with no ventilation except from directly overhead!

I asked the architects if they had actually modeled what amount of sunlight will actually make it into this courtyard since it will be bordered by three story walls to the north and the south. The best way I could describe the look on their faces was "vacant" I do not think the idea had even crossed their mind, well it did mine and I am not an architect nor do I play one on TV.

The guy making the presentation also works as an instructor in ASU's architecture school. Don Anderson (Delta Sig) asked them after the presentation if they had thought about actually visiting a Fraternity House to see how we operate and utilize a building. They said no. Lord help this instructors students. Finding out what the customer needs, wants and how they make use of your product is the first thing that a consultant needs to ascertain. I would give this ASU instructor an "F".

7. There will be a breezeway running down the front of the buildings on the second and third floors that will tie the clusters together. On the second floor landing at the front of the building is where they plan to have a couple washers and dryers to accommodate two clusters. Now we will have 80 guys from two different chapters sharing a single laundry room. Oh, yeah that sounds like some thought went into the design.

8. At separate ends of the facility will be an elevator. If a house in the middle finds that it has a member with a sprained ankle (probably obtained during his mile long hike to and from his car in the parking lot on the other side of Apache Blvd.) he will have to take the elevator in one building and walk through three other houses. I say "through" because on the second and third floors there will be a bedroom positioned above the front door of the house and across this walkway from the balance of the House. Kinda cantilevered out in space.

9. The total floor space will be about 10,000 sq. feet but if for some reason you are unable to occupy all the rooms in your building ASU will take the third floor away from you and house general population students in your facility. ASU will also enter into separate leases with your members instead of allowing the House Corp to do a master lease and then sublicense the members the rooms so that a member causing problems cannot be removed by the Chapter.

There are currently no plans to allow us to "customize the exterior fronts and entryways to our buildings either (although Mernoy Harrison indicated last week this might be able to be changed). Kinda like being in a fascist police state type of Home Owners association with they won't let you grown a flower that is not on the approved list.

10. They are currently planning on having three single rooms in each cluster.

11. Phase 1 (eight clusters) calls for them moving Old Row into this facility in January 2004 (two semester away) and Phase 2 (six clusters) calls for moving the Alpha Drive Houses in the Fall Semester of 2004 (three semesters away).

Summary Based on the presentation I am even more convinced that we cannot and will not move into this facility. With no parking we will not be able to get students to move. If we do not get students to move in the University will squeeze us out. once we are out of housing our chapters die.

Even if we somehow manage to get guys to live-in (all rooms filled means 1/3 of the Chapter is around) we will have no way to provide for the other 2/3rd of the Chapter to come over for Chapter meetings or just to be around the house because there is no parking for them.

The size of the "Chapter" room is not big enough to accommodate us and we do not want to use the Chapter Room as a living room and entrance foyer to the House either.

Without parking, meeting space and dining facilities we will not be able to attract Alums to come by the House either.

If Michael Crow is serious about wanting to beef up ASU's Home Coming festivities he should help us on Alpha Drive because with our current proximity to the Stadium and parking and the size of our houses we could make a good focal point for that goal of his.