Upgrades On Tap For Fayetteville's Chi Omega House

Posted: January 13, 2015 at 1 a.m.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK The Chi Omega Sorority House at 940 West Maple Street at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas' oldest sorority is getting a makeover.

Planning commissioners on Monday approved plans for renovations and a 9,000-square-foot addition to the Chi Omega house at 940 W. Maple St.

At A Glance

Commission Action

Fayetteville’s Planning Commission met Monday and approved:

• Plans for a 39-lot, single-family subdivision at the northeast corner of Rupple Road and Golf Club Drive

• APlans for 91 townhouse lots in the Village at Shiloh, a development on the west side of Interstate 49, about a half-mile north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

• Recommended rezoning 93 acres southwest of Garland Avenue and Van Asche Drive where Park West was planned

• Recommend rezoning 21.6 acres on the east side of Rupple Road, north of the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club, where Westside Village was planned.

Source: Staff Report

Bonnie Griffin, chairwoman of the Chi Omega Psi Chapter 's building committee, said the sorority plans to break ground on the project in May.

Construction is expected to take about a year to complete, causing students who live in the sorority house to vacate the building during the 2015-16 academic year.

The renovation includes more study space, a larger dining area and more room for social events, including an expanded patio on the eastern side of the house, along Oakland Avenue.

"In 1920 ... there were only about 40 members. Now we have 400 members," Sonya Jones told commissioners Monday. "There are several times when they are all there eating or gathering, and we think we need all the space we can get to take the house into the next century."

According to Toni Bahn, a former sorority sister, the Chi Omega house accommodates 86 students. After construction, 93 students will live there.

"While beds may not increase that much, it will be a major renovation," Bahn said.

"They'll now have more room to live, learn, eat and meet and gather," said Jay Young, a land surveyor with Development Consultants of Fayetteville.

According to a memo from Young, the project will remove 15 of 27 on-site parking spaces. Chi Omega leases 23 spaces from the university in a parking lot up the street from the sorority house, between Lindell and Oakland avenues. The lease will be expanded 46 once the project is complete.

Chi Omega was founded at the University of Arkansas in 1895. According to its website, it is the world's largest women's fraternal organization with nearly 180 collegiate chapters. Notable alumni include former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.

The Psi chapter house in Fayetteville is at least 79 years old, according to Washington County property records. Jones said additions were made in the 1940s and 1950s, bringing the building to about 26,000 square feet. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

NW News on 01/13/2015