Student housing design experts KWK Architects, along with partner architect BWBR of Omaha, NE, are finalizing design plans for a new Greek Village at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). The $32.65 million project includes a new residence hall and renovation of existing Martin Hall.
“UNK has a reputation for quality, student-centered experiences, and our Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) community is one of the best examples of this dynamic educational environment,” said Kelsey Hassenstab, Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life. “Our 700-plus members are involved across campus and the Kearney community, and they excel academically while holding many of the top student leadership positions at UNK.”
To support the campus’ 12 fraternities and sororities (only nine chapters currently have members living on campus) and strengthen its living-learning communities, UNK plans to replace its current fraternity and sorority housing - University Residence South (URS) and University Residence North (URN) constructed in 1991 and 1992 - with a three-story plus basement, 43,000-square-foot residence hall to be built east of the Nebraskan Student Union and directly north of Martin Hall.
Designed for larger chapters with more members living on campus, the new hall’s first floor will feature chapter lounges, with the third floor featuring an open floor plan to allow for sororities to adjust in size for a total of 122 beds. Each sorority will have its own independent chapter room.
The 42,500-square-foot Martin Hall, last occupied in 2014, will be renovated with a similar layout as the new building with chapter lounges on the first floor and open floor flan on second and third floors for a total of 120 beds. It will also feature one chapter room per community in the basement, as well as a community “great room” space on the main floor to encourage interaction among different organizations. The design renovations will preserve some of the building’s historic elements, while adding new amenities and upgrades.
“This project will facilitate more community building among the FSL organizations by providing more opportunities for all the chapters to be involved,” Hassenstab said. “It’s more inclusive and progressive housing, which will allow us to grow closer as a community and work together to achieve our educational and community service goals.”
“The key to both buildings’ designs is flexibility,” said KWK Principal Javier Esteban. “The upper floor is designed to absorb the fluctuations of fraternity and sorority populations from one year to the next. All access to each chapter will be controlled by card reader.”
The projected completion date for Martin Hall is January 2023 and August 2023 for the new residence hall. URS and URN will be razed after the Greek Village’s completion.