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Negotiations Begin for Two Properties for Sigma Kappa

By A. Arif Husain
Associate News Editor

Preliminary negotiations on the purchase of two properties to house the Sigma Kappa sorority have begun.

Zoning difficulties have slowed down progress, but SK is expecting to move students in by the fall of 1997, said SK President Christine A. Ho '95.

The properties under consideration are 480 and 482 Commonwealth Ave., located near the Alpha Chi Omega house in Kenmore Square. The exact prices were not available, but market values border around a million dollars, said Director of Special Services Stephen D. Immerman.

Efforts are currently concentrated on the larger property, which can house approximately 30, with the hope that the adjacent building may be used as an annex.

Since residents will be responsible for operating costs, it will be most cost-effective to acquire both so that fixed costs can be distributed, Immerman said. The pair should be able to house between 40 and 50.

"There's a lot of bureaucracy that has to run its course before we know exactly where we are in terms of making [the properties] a sorority house," Assistant Dean and Adviser to Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups Neal H. Dorow said.

The negotiations were prompted by a growing need to accommodate rising numbers of female students. With 118 members, SK is the largest sorority on campus.

"MIT didn't realize that sororities want housing. Now that they know, the real estate office is actively looking," Ho said.

After the purchase, SK will borrow funds to cover renovation costs. Low-interest loans are available through the Institute's Independent Residence Development Fund. In the past, Alpha Phi borrowed just over $1 million for its house, and AXO borrowed nearly $800,000, Immerman said. SK renovation costs are expected to be in the same range.

Ashdown placement successful

The move to purchase an off-campus house follows last year's placement of SK in Ashdown House ["Sigma Kappa Moves to Ashdown," April 14]. Currently, 45 SK members live in Ashdown.

Residents have been surprised at how smoothly things have worked out, Ho said. "We love it. We all get to live together; that's never happened before."

SK will keep its spots in Ashdown until the end of next year while purchase and renovations of a house are completed. At that point, no members will be allowed to move into Ashdown, although those already housed will not be forced to move out, Ho said.

Kappa Alpha Theta next in line

The sororities are given preference for housing based on their founding dates. Kappa Alpha Theta was founded fourth, and will be considered for housing after SK negotiations are complete, KAT President Lara J. Ivey '95 said.

KAT is looking for a house in the Back Bay for about 30 people. "Hopefully we'll be housed in two to three years," Ivey said.