The University of Tennessee's Morgan Hill is about to welcome its first residents as it opens up Sorority Village for the fall semester.
While all the houses and all the chapters won't be in fully ready until 2013, Sorority Village hopes to house as many as 270 women by the end of the fall semester.
The houses opening at the first phase are Delta Zeta, Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Delta Pi, Sigma Kappa and Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Jeff Maples said that they are hopeful between two to four houses will be built by the beginning of the semester so that students can start moving in.
The dilemma becomes what happens to those students who will move in during the fall semester but not until after school starts.
"Some of the students have made arrangements outside the university," Maples said. "The university has offered up early on temporary housing for those students. Many of the students are moving into residence halls and once their bur
Maples said that the university will allow students to cancel the contract of living in the residence hall temporarily once their house is finished, but because they didn't see this coming, they have made the appropriate accommodations.
Assistant Vice President of Recruitment on the Panhellenic Council Morgan Owens said that she is most looking forward to the shared community that the sorority students will experience.
"I'm looking forward to a different sense of community that comes with having to do life next to each other," she said.
Owens said that the numbers in each house range from housing 30 members to 40 or 50 members, but that the houses were different in style and staff. She also said that it's up to each sorority if they want to staff extra people to help them with their house. Most of the sororities will have a house mom that they will use for different purposes, and some have even hired a cook.
Most of the sororities with house moms have built-in space for the mom so that she can live in the house.
With the location being off campus, commuting has become a much bigger issue than when students lived in university housing.
The development will become part of the university's "T" bus service routes, where UT students can ride free with their UT ID.
Owens said that she hopes that a lot of students utilize the bus route, but said driving may be the most predominant option.
"It's not that far that people think it is," she said. "I won't be surprised if we still have people walk or ride a bike. But I know we are hoping that people start using that the bus route."
Students that are driving will be able to use the GS permit to park in non-commuter parking areas. This GS permit is only allowed in the parking area at Sorority Village and in campus unreserved staff and commuter areas between 5:00 p.m and 3:00 a.m.
Aside from transportation, the other major concern is security, but Owens said she isn't worried because there isn't a reason to be.
"The university has taken some great steps to making sure, just because we are off campus, we'll still have our security guard or community service officer," she said. "The whole village is fenced with swipe card access. It's a pretty secure area."
Maples said that security is as tight as it can be, and they are prepared for students to move in.
"Security has been a priority since day one in planning for that," he said. "There's a lot of things in place, lots of different components in place that we think will make it a very secure site."
Along with swipe access, blue light emergency phones and security cameras are also security assets of the village.
Similar to the houses in Fraternity Park, Sorority Village houses hold a land lease agreement with the university and UT is managing the contracts for the building projects.
Owens said that the meal plans are significantly lower than university housing meal plans, but the rent accommodations are very compatible to living on campus.
The whole project is set to be done by fall of 2013.