WARRENSBURG — With notice given just days prior, residents of the Fraternity Complex at the University of Central Missouri met with representatives of the university housing staff to discuss why residents have until the end of the week to move into other residence halls.
Residents of the complex, home to the fraternities at UCM, received an email Sunday, Nov. 10, which stated the complex was no longer viable for student housing due to an essential heating unit failing and residents would be reassigned to rooms in the Ellis and Fitzgerald dormitories for this semester.
A statement from UCM reads, “UCM has been advised that existing supplemental heating sources will not guarantee adequate warmth for students throughout the winter. Therefore, UCM will begin relocating students immediately. … No initial plan for repair work has been identified, and further updates will be communicated to students once they are available.”
Residents have until Sunday, Nov. 17, to move their belongings from the complex to their new rooms.
A meeting between the complex residents and staff members was organized in early October, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12.
“We initially were going to ask about the conditions of the complex, but with the sudden news on Sunday we are rerouting to more of a ‘what is the plan for the future,’ ‘what is the plan for this week,’” Colby Crowder said at the forum.
The complex was closed previously in 2015 due to mold.
Director of Housing Facilities and Operations Brenda Moeder, Director of Residence/Greek Life Alan Nordyke and Associate Vice President for Student Auxiliaries Patrick Bradley, answered questions about the Fraternity Complex.
Moeder stated that the complex is no longer adequate housing as an unexpected pipe leak below the building, under concrete, in a major heating unit caused the unit to fail.
The leak was detected Friday, Nov. 8.
“Knowing that the long-range plan of the complex was that it would have to close, we didn’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix one pipe,” Moeder said.
Bradley said the complex was due to no longer serve as student housing by 2021 as part of the university’s master plan.
An email sent to complex residents from housing staff states that the university will not move forward with repairs to the complex. After Sunday, Nov. 17, the complex will no longer serve as student housing.
Information from Bradley sent to students states, “Although UCM is financially stable, there is not sufficient excess funding to commit to a project the scale of new fraternity housing. UCM is not considering building new fraternity housing currently or in the immediate future.”
Bradley said a new building similar in size and square feet to the Complex would cost $21.6 million to $25 million.
“Because this all happened so quickly we, honestly, were not ready to have you move out of the complex,” Bradley said. “That is why we have temporary housing right now in Fitzgerald and Ellis top floors.”
Moeder said UCM has provided a “box truck” to be used by the fraternities while they are moving into their new rooms in Ellis and Fitzgerald, but the university will not be able to assist with moving items due to liability for damage.
The panel said larger items, such as furniture, owned by the chapters will remain in the complex for now and water in the building will be turned off. After the complex has been vacated, the building will remain secured and chapter members will be able to access the building with permission.
“This is disrupting us to a great extent,” Crowder said at the forum, asking if it would be possible to be excused from classes for a day to have more time to move. “I know many of us have lost a lot of sleep over this and this is really going to put us back.”
Bradley said that decision to be excused from class would be up to the individual professor.
Student employees at the complex will remain on staff and will continue their duties in Ellis and Fitzgerald.
Residents asked about the conditions of the complex and why the Panhellenic, UCM sorority housing, appeared in better shape than the Fraternity Complex.
“Reality is … guys tend to be rougher on facilities than women,” Bradley said.
Residents asked if it would be possible to have off-campus chapter houses. The panel said the university would support any fraternity organization that wanted to have an off-campus house, but each organization would have to go through the City of Warrensburg to ensure they met all zoning requirements.
Moeder said the Complex does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and any future building would need to meet those criteria.
Bradley said housing staff will need to work with the fraternities to accommodate their needs.