Feb 202005
Authors: Kate Dzintars, Katrina Tamminga

College students spilled onto the lawn, laughing and talking. Loud music blasted through the neighborhood. People threw carpets and couches out of the house's windows, but it was not a riot or even a party.

CSU Greeks and members of Timberline Church, 2908 S. Timberline Road, cleaned up the former Sigma Pi fraternity house, 709 Wagner Drive, to turn it into the Lighthouse Community Center for young adults.

More than 250 volunteers removed furniture, carpets and helped clean the house Saturday and Sunday, the first steps toward turning the building into the Lighthouse.

The center will feature game rooms, study rooms and living space for 20 to 25 people. Students who want to live there will have to go through an application process and act as representatives for Timberline church.

The building will also house offices for Flip the Switch, Timberline Church's young-adult ministry program.

Even though the Greek community and Timberline church are spearheading the project, the community center will be open to all.

"I hope that people don't see it as just a religious outlet, but a place to make sober choices and have a lot of fun without alcohol," said Christina Chaput, a sophomore speech communications and political science major.

Chaput, who is also the Pi Beta Phi Membership chairman, said she heard interest throughout the Greek community and contacted Timberline Church to get involved.

Reza Zadeh, the young adult and singles pastor at Timberline said he then went around to sorority and fraternity houses to encourage them to get involved.

"It's great to see students coming together to do this," Zadeh said, "especially the Greek community."

Zadeh said the goal is to open with a Fourth of July party.

Zadeh said he came up with the idea for the house on the way back from a ministry trip in Texas. A church there had a small house off campus serving the same purpose as the Lighthouse will.

"I thought it would be a good four-bedroom house here," Zadeh said, "but I decided to go with a 31-bedroom instead."

CSU student Samantha Spady was found dead in the house from alcohol poisoning in September. Even though the house was the site of a tragedy, students appreciate that something positive is coming from it.

"It's going to be huge," said Marques Lopez, a business marketing major and member of Phi Delta Theta. "Now, anytime anyone comes in here, they're going to think, 'This is where that bad event happened, but look at all the good that is coming from it.'"

Darren Pettapiece, former president of Sigma Pi, said after Spady's death the fate of the house fell to the back burner, but he is excited to see the outcome of the project.

"It's hard to go back in (the house) and face reality and reopen the wounds," said Pettapiece, a senior natural resource recreation and tourism major. "But any way we can dedicate it to Sam is the way to go, and this is ideal."

Plans for the house include a wall of the entryway featuring Spady's artwork and a tribute to Sigma Pi. The Chi Omega sorority is in charge of this project.

Spady's death may have shed negative light on the Greek community, but members hope this project will change the community's opinion.

"It's a good way for us to get back in a positive light," Chaput said. "We've been under a lot of heat lately."

Members of Timberline Church think the community center will provide a safe place for students to have fun and help build bridges between the community and CSU.

"It's a town we all live in," said Suzanne Miller, a member of Timberline Church, "and we care about these kids."

Miller also said that if the center prevents even one more student from dying of alcohol poisoning, then all the work is worth it.

"This will be a lighthouse and we are going to help guide all those lost ships out there," said Lisa Bieber, a Timberline Church member.

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