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Bloomington Herald-Times

June 26, 2013

Fraternity swaps land with IU
Pending fundraising success, Phi Gamma Delta to move from Third Street to new house to be built on Eighth

By Jon Blau

June 26, 2013, last update: 6/26 @ 12:12 am

The Indiana University Foundation has a signed deal with Phi Gamma Delta to take its property between the Maurer School of Law and the Department of Physics and give the fraternity space at the corner of Eighth Street and Woodlawn Avenue.

And while the deal between the foundation and the greek organization extends for more than three years -- allowing the FIJIs to raise money for a new house while the university plans for the property -- neighbors in the fraternity's future location are anxious about what the development will mean for them.

"A lot of the effort until now has been getting a deal in place," IU spokesman Mark Land said of negotiations between the foundation and FIJI. "Action is still some time away."

The university's master plan has the current FIJI property marked for "academic" use, which could mean an expansion of buildings from the east or west, or a separate building with classrooms, Land said. A "swap of properties" would put Phi Gamma Delta right next to the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority on Woodlawn Avenue, building toward IU's goal of making the street a more prominent "north-south thoroughfare," Land said.

At the same time, the university has not met with members of the neighborhood to discuss what may be coming in the next few years. But Land said the university, which has control over what the new FIJI house will look like, will be careful to keep the building in character with what surrounds it on Woodlawn, such as the Collins Living-Learning Center on 10th Street and the Hutton Honors College on Seventh.

The university's plan is eventually to build along Woodlawn Avenue north to Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall.

"We have every interest in creating a house that fits within the character of the campus and everything around it," Land said.

The buildings in the Eighth and Woodlawn area are of interest to the city at large, too. Bloomington's Historic Preservation Commission plans to discuss six properties in the University Courts district at its Thursday meeting, according to Housing and Neighborhood Development Department program director Nancy Hiestand. But it will only be for sharing information on the buildings as background for the commission, she said, because the commission does not know what may happen to the houses and has nothing to act on yet.

Hiestand said the structures near Eighth Street and Woodlawn Avenue date back to the 1920s and 1930s and represent the first "affluent" neighborhood to serve the university and its faculty. They are also a vestige of Bloomington's first "brick street" — comparable to the Elm Heights neighborhood, she said -- with urban apartments made completely out of masonry, brick and limestone.

The Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house at 441 N. Woodlawn Avenue is a classic Tudor Revival style building with multiple steeply pitched and slate covered roofs, according to the city's walking tour of the University Courts district.


"A lot of the effort until now has been getting a deal in place. Action is still some time away."

MARK LAND, IU spokesman, on negotiations between the foundation and FIJI