Jordon Ader | Staff Reporter
The Zeta Eta chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity will begin construction of their long-awaited educational center on Lee St. next to A&M-Commerce within the coming months.
According to Sigma Chi Housing Corp. President John Chopel, the building, formally referred to as the Sigma Chi Educational Center, will serve as an official meeting place for the chapter as well as a venue for leadership training and life skills workshops.
“The training is so that when the guys graduate, they know how to apply for a mortgage loan, plan for retirement, access life insurance needs; things they will need to know how to navigate for life after college,” Chopel said.
At homecoming last year, Sigma Chi held a formal groundbreaking ceremony, but due to unforeseen circumstances the construction of the building was postponed.
During a chapter meeting on Sept. 24, Sigma Chi alumnus and local businessman Kent Holbert announced that all plans for the new chapter house have been finished and submitted to the city for approval.
The project is funded completely by alumni donations to the corporation, which oversees the two properties that belong to the Zeta Eta chapter, and is estimated to cost just over $400,000 to build. A graphic rendering of the new building can be seen on the lawn of the Sigma Chi apartments, across the parking lot next to Ferguson.
“It would be in excess of $525,000 without brothers in the trades donating roofing materials, plumbing labor and fixtures, excavation work, flooring, countertops, etcetera,” Chopel said. “Our general contractor, brother John Gotcher of Greenville, is donating his time and expertise to our project.”
Chopel also said Sigma Chi Housing Corp. established the Zeta Eta Educational Foundation to help brothers of the Zeta Eta chapter pay their college tuition.
Chopel said construction should begin by Dec. 1 and, depending on weather, will be finished in six to eight months. The two-story, 5,600-square-foot facility will be in front of the chapter’s current apartments.