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Crimson White Online

November 13, 2006

DKE house construction on schedule
Brothers will move in next fall

By James Jaillets
Staff Reporter

After its razing in May, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity mansion began its resurrection across the street from its old lot in August and is on schedule to be open for the fall 2007 semester, said Assistant Vice President for Construction Tim Leopard and DKE housing corps member John McNeil.

The new mansion, which includes three stories with a basement and encloses 23,352 square feet of floor space, will be more than twice the size of the old "Mansion on the Hill" and can house 29 DKE brothers in single-occupancy bedrooms.

While the house is being built, DKE members are housed in a Bryce Lawn apartment building.

McNeil, a UA alumnus, said the housing corps, along with the current and alumni DKE members, is eager for the house to be done and is happy about what it can add to the fraternity's historic presence at the University.

"You know you hate to see something as historic as the 'Mansion on the Hill' be knocked down," McNeil said. "We had mixed emotions at first when we heard what was going to happen, but when they showed us the plans, we were very excited about what they wanted to do with the stadium and, in hindsight, we're very pleased with the way it turned out."

Alex Fleming, a junior majoring in business and member of DKE, said he is excited about the new house and looks forward to the future of the new DKE house.

"I'm glad we were able to maintain a good location," Fleming said. "I think it's good for the chapter because there's space for a lot more people to stay, and it's going to be a great place to recruit and we'll always be right in the middle of gameday."

The old DKE mansion was built in 1916, but the fraternity's roots at the University run back to 1847, when it was established as the first fraternity on campus. Fraternity alumni owned the old mansion, and they will also own the new house.

The property, however, is owned by the University and is leased to greek organizations at $1 per year under a 50-year lease contract. The contract says, however, that if the University does need the property, the lease can be ended.

Last November, the University came to the DKE alumni with the desire for their property space and purchased the mansion for $1.2 million. Gorgas Hall, which sat across from the old mansion, was knocked down, and that space was leased to the DKE members for their new house.

The new mansion is priced at $6.6 million, and about half of the money, including the money received for the old house, has been raised and donated by DKE alumni.

"It's a lot like building a custom home," Leopard said. "It's very high-maintenance."

Leopard said the building has an interesting design, with a focus on making sure the structure can withstand the wear and tear of time.

"We're building something that's going to last for years and years," Leopard said.

The inside layout of the home will be similar to the style of the new dormitories on campus, with two members sharing a bathroom yet still have the privacy of a single bedroom. Also, the dining hall in the house will be able to feed around 120 to 130 fraternity members at one time.

Leopard said construction on the house is about two weeks ahead of schedule and, weather permitting, work will continue at a steady pace. The basement was recently finished, and forming of the first floor is about to start.




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