Sprinklers Costly For Greeks
A Columbia commission repealed its previous plan to install sprinklers into all of Greektown.
The fraternity brothers of Beta Sigma Psi live in a house that's practically empty. Only 27 members make up this small Lutheran chapter. They have a house with fire alarms, but no sprinkler system. Columbia's building codes commission wanted that to change.
To install sprinklers, architects estimate it could cost from $200,000 to $300,000, depending on the size of the house. But Greek Alumni own the houses, and they were alarmed at the cost.
"Our house has 100 members, so we've got a fairly large number of people to work with. But some of the fraternities and sororities are relatively small, 30 or 40 members. And to generate those kinds of dollars increases housing bills or debt; it just may not be possible," explained Rick Sommer, advisor of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.
And for Beta Sig's 27 members: "It would very possibly raise the dues of each member quite drastically," said Tony Zehnle, President of Beta Sigma Psi.
Zehnle says the plan would have forced some smaller houses to leave the Greek Community.
"We're upset with the process. We are not upset with the efforts of the building commission, the fire department, and the city council to help us improve safety," explained Zehnle.
But these Greeks say, they felt singled out.
The building construction code commission voted monday to repeal the provision that would have forced sprinkler installation.But concern for student safety has not been forgotten. Greek chapter advisors met tonight to discuss further fire safety precautions.