Fraternity row faces parking limitations due to construction
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 23:02
The fraternity system at SMU has dealt with quite a few issues this year due to construction on the row, but an inconvenience once thought to be temporary is now permanent: the loss of all parking on SMU Boulevard.
Before construction began, SMU Boulevard housed 55 resident permit spots on the north side in front of the fraternity houses and 42 all university parking permit spots on the south side next to the intramural fields and Moody Garage.
Associate Vice President of the Office of Planning, Design and Construction Philip Jabour said the removal of the parking had been planned for quite some time as detailed in SMU’s master plan for construction.
Facility Manager for Greek Houses Doug Wills had not been told that the university was removing the spaces on SMU Boulevard.
“They let us know when they let the rest of the university know,” Wills said.
Wills serves as a liaison between the Office of Resident Life and Student Housing and house managers of the individual fraternities.
Kenny Finch, house manager for the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter, was unaware of the parking change until he was questioned for this article.
“Basically, I’ve heard nothing of their plans for parking around here,” Finch said. Finch is less than pleased that he and his brothers will have to vie with others for parking next to their fraternity house, located on Dyer Court.
Mark Rhodes, the director of parking and ID card services, said that he did not know how the members of the fraternity houses were to receive this information and why Wills had not be briefed on the loss of parking.
He said that there had been communication between the Dean of Students and the Planning, Design and Construction Office about changes on SMU Boulevard, but that information never reached Wills, and, in turn, the fraternities.
There are signs that certain groups on campus are aware of the parking issue, however.
According to Rhodes, Don Donnally, an advisor for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at SMU, contacted him with concerns about the parking.
Rhodes said that he is prepared to go to each fraternity house and speak about the options for residents if need be.
Rhodes asserted that fraternity members attending chapter on Monday nights would be able to park in the Lambda Chi/SAE parking lot, the spaces in the alley behind the fraternity houses, and Moody Garage, located just across the street from the chapter houses. He is aware that not everyone will take to parking in the garage.
“People don’t like to park in structures,” said Rhodes.
Eric Gates, a resident of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house, is worried about heightened tensions between fraternities as they vie for precious parking spots in the alleyway before chapter.
“It’s gonna be a mad race,” Gates said.
Jabour cited the new parking garage in the Residential Commons area as a viable option for fraternity members heading to chapter meetings, but Rhodes stated that the structure only contains 800 parking spaces to accommodate the Common’s 1,200 residents and will probably not be zoned for commuter permits.
No one seems to be certain what the ideal parking setup is for fraternity members or how to best communicate with the affected residents.
But there is one thing about those spots that Rhodes said he is sure of: “They’re gone and they are not coming back.”