Jan 172005
 
Authors: James Baetke

The Sigma Pi fraternity house that was shut down in September, after a CSU student died of alcohol poisoning, may soon become a community center.

The decision to revoke the fraternity of its membership came just four days after 19-year-old Samantha Spady was found dead in a seldom-used room at the Sigma Pi house, 709 Wagner Drive. Spady died from excessive alcohol use with a blood-alcohol content of .436.

Members of the Timberline Church, 2908 S. Timberline Road, are discussing ideas to revamp the emptied Sigma Pi house and create a community center.

The proposed center will serve students and community members who are interested in using its computers, hanging out and just being in a positive, sober environment.

Religion does not necessarily have to be a factor to stop by the center, Pastor Reza Zadeh said.

Zadeh, a former CSU football player, came up with the idea for the community center when he was coming home from a church function in Austin, Texas. Zadeh wanted to create a place where CSU academia and ministry could meet.

Zadeh realized that with the removal of the Sigma Pi fraternity from campus in the fall, the building would serve as the perfect "campus center."

The owners of the building, the ex-Greek chapter Lambda Chi Alpha, leased the facility to Sigma Pi fraternity.

The building will house ministry members permanently as well as serve as a safe haven for students coming home from parties and the bars, Zadeh said.

"We just want to be a safe place (for students) to come in. It is not going to be much different than what the frat house was," Zadeh said. "We are not coming in saying, 'we are Christians and you are not."

Zadeh and other members from Timberline's young adult ministry program Flip the Switch plan to host pancake breakfasts every Saturday at 3 a.m. and plan to implement a program called Fifth Quarter where people can gather after CSU football games to sober up and have after-game celebrations without alcohol.

"A lot of students will find this a great place to go," said Mark Koepsell, CSU director for Greek Life.

DeAnza Humphreys, a junior health and exercise science major and young women's leader at Timberline's Flip the Switch program said the doors will be open to all students and members of the community.

"It is a part of our vision. We want to make a difference," Humphreys said.

Organizers plan to clean out and spruce up the old building once the lease agreement is reached, since the facility has been empty for months and vandals have ruined some of the property.

Plans for a memorial wall in dedication to Spady are expected to be created, where some of her paintings and other memorabilia will be posted by Chi Omega and close friends.

Patty Spady, mother of Samantha, is making special plans to come to Fort Collins this week and meet with church officials about the new campus center.

"This is the opportunity to turn a time of sorrow into joy and life," Humphreys said.

Past Sigma Pi president Darren Pettapiece said he has been working with Zadeh on the logistics of the project and is pleased with the idea. Pettapiece has also been involved in numerous other awareness programs since the death of Spady, including handing out "Ace of Spades" cards designed to raise alcohol awareness.

"This is a hard time for us," Pettapiece said, speaking on behalf of all the past fraternity members.

Despite the vandalism of the building, Pettapiece said he wants the campus center to be the result of something positive. Pettapiece also wants people to know the men who had to leave the former fraternity house are still involved in helping raise alcohol awareness in the community.

The expected opening date of the facility is set for July, Zadeh said. He is also working to gain donations and encourages support from the community.

"We are not here to say we are in church and you are drunk, and then you are going to hell," Zadeh said.

 

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