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Clarkson University building themed housing

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POTSDAM — While other campuses in the area move forward with large student housing projects, Clarkson University is thinking small.

In a wooded corner of campus south of the Cheel Campus Center, the school is building two small buildings to house the Sigma Chi and Sigma Delta fraternities.

The structures, intended to house 20-22 students, are part of a cluster of theme houses that will sprout up in the area over the next few years, according to Kathryn B. Johnson, vice president for university outreach and student affairs.

“The intent is, like on many campuses, to have themed housing opportunities where students have shared interest,” she said. “It is a type of accommodation that has become very popular in recent years. Clarkson was very interested in taking this approach.”

The first two houses are scheduled to open this fall. A third building, to house Sigma Phi Epsilon, will follow, but Ms. Johnson said the theme houses aren’t intended to be just for fraternities.

“Potentially, this could be any student organization or group that has a common or a shared interest and would like to have a common living space,” she said. “Usually it is a very structured organization on campus.”

To qualify for residence, student organizations must be able to make a unique, positive contribution that will enhance and benefit the larger community. Special housing privileges will be reviewed annually.

The school has space for nine houses. The buildings will include kitchens, dining facilities, gathering space and study space.

While many campuses have instituted theme housing in small structures on and around their campuses, Clarkson is building theirs as-needed.

“Once these first two to three houses are up and used, it is going to be a popular option,” Ms. Johnson said. “We don’t yet have plans for any more beyond the first nine. We’re looking at what we have just into the immediate future.”

The construction and maintenance of the buildings will be funded by student housing fees, Ms. Johnson said.

“Clarkson is very committed to providing the types of living opportunities that students are looking for on campuses these days,” she said. “Themed housing is very popular with students.”

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