As the club turns 50 next year, alumni, sponsors and current members of Sigma Theta Chi plan to celebrate with a pavilion on the grassy area between the Brown Library and Zona Luce.
Amanda Pittman, Siggie sponsor and head of the project, said that they liked the idea of doing something on campus that was for more than just club and would last longer than a year.
Though other ideas were pitched, the main concept was to have a gathering place for fellowship and conversation. Because a lot of the larger gathering areas are off limits, Pittman said, they wanted to give more space for people to congregate.
“We did some initial searches on the internet and showed those to different people on campus,” Pittman said.
Some of their inspiration included Magnolia Market in Waco and other places similar to a town square.
Conversations about the pavilion started last spring, but because there wasn’t much funding at the time, the progress was slow. The total process is projected to last two years.
After administration approved their ideas, they were directed to an architect, Brent Lobstein, who works with the university. Lobstein proposed renderings to the committee and discussed tweaks to make.
Originally, they planned to include a fire pit, but after conversations with risk management, they determined it was too dangerous to have an open flame near two of the oldest buildings on campus, as well as a constant threat to student safety.
“It was much more modern than we thought, we loved it,” Pittman said.
Lobstein planned for the pavilion to face north/south so the sun wouldn’t inhibit the experience.
The club is responsible for raising all of the funds for the pavilion, $200,000, for the materials, architect design fees, mailing fees, etc. The goal is to be completely funded by August so it can be ready by homecoming. It is projected to only take around 35 days to build.
If the pavilion is not built by October, Pittman said they’d like to have at least a groundbreaking.
Originally, the cost limit was $150,000, but the steel and concrete were more expensive than expected.
To raise the money, Pittman said they are reaching out to their class champions – members from each pledge class over the past 15 years – to reach out to alumni on social media.
“They just tell everyone to give what you can, but with 50 years of girls and so many pledge classes, we can get pretty close to what we’re trying to raise.”
The pavilion is intended to serve campus, offering a place for professors to take their classes and students to study outside and converse.
Pittman said they wanted to respect the grassy lot, but the university recommended it as the perfect location. As they continued to think about it, Pittman said they realized it is a high-traffic area, including Leadership Camps over the summer and recreational sporting activities.
“It would be a cool place for people to gather before and after the event,” Pittman said. “Siggies will incorporate it into pledging, but anyone can use it and any group can meet there.”
Like the Ko Jo Kai benches, GATA fountain and Sub T-16 scoreboard, the Siggie Pavilion would benefit more than just club members, Pittman said, but would still be incorporated into club activities including pass the keys – a club tradition to celebrate a member’s engagement.
“We were really encouraged by the response we got on campus. All of the feedback was super positive.”