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Clarkson theme houses going up quickly

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POTSDAM — Houses are springing up rapidly in a wooded section of Clarkson University, ready to provide an alternative to fraternities, sororities and other student groups that want to live in a home together without leaving campus.

Construction on the theme housing began in January, and two of the houses were finished before September. They are now occupied by the Sigma Chi and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities. The third house will be complete by the start of next semester, with the Sigma Delta fraternity prepared to move in.

Construction has begun on the fourth. It is slated for completion by next fall.

“If you’ll drive by campus, you’ll see it’s popping out of the ground,” said Stephen I. Newkofsky, dean of students.

The college plans for up to nine houses to occupy the space eventually, but the rapid-fire construction likely will slow a bit until next year.

“Once we get through the fourth one, we’ll probably wait and see, and evaluate, and see what other groups might come forward,” Mr. Newkofsky said.

Each of the buildings can house up to 22 students. The cost is comparable to living in one of Clarkson’s student apartments, which run from $3,600 to $4,000 per student per semester.

Although all of the completed houses have been claimed by Greek organizations, they are not just for fraternities and sororities, according to Mr. Newkofsky. Any group with shared interests and a desire to live together on campus can look into the possibility of occupying a themed house.

“The idea is to have other theme-related living and learning environments,” Mr. Newkofsky said.

Groups must be able to demonstrate a positive contribution to the community in order to qualify for one of the homes.

Meanwhile, fraternities, sororities and other groups that own homes off campus can continue to do so as long as they wish.

The college decided to build the cluster of homes to expand its housing options for students, and so far the reception has been positive, Mr. Newkofsky said.

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