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February 9, 2007
New fraternity houses' construction on schedule
DKE and Beta brothers will move in on time
Two fraternities with deep roots at the Capstone are well on their way to having their new houses completed. Delta Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi have both seen their houses torn down only to start resurrection across from the north end zone plaza at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
According to Assistant Vice President of Construction Administration Tim Leopard, the DKE house, which is scheduled to open in August, started structural work on the second floor this week. The Beta Theta Pi house is, according to Leopard, "60 percent completed," with the current tasks of interior work and roof work. That house is scheduled to be opened in April or May of this year.
"We're going to build something that lasts for years and years," Leopard said. "It's a lot like building a custom home. It's very high maintenance."
The DKE house was razed in May 2006 to make room for for an extension of the stadium and the creation of the Walk of Champions. The Beta house was torn down in February 2006 after the University gave them a loan to build a new house.
"In a bunch of ways I'll miss the old house," Will Bross, a sophomore majoring in psychology and Beta Theta Pi member. "I'll definitely miss the atmosphere it provided. The size of the new house is awesome. It's going to be great to have all of the guys under one roof again."
The DKE house is priced at approximately $6.6 million, while the Beta house costs around $3.4 million, Leopard said, with square footage reaching around 23, 352 and 18, 500.
"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," UA alumnus and former DKE member John McNeil said.
The DKE mansion will be able to house 29 fraternity members, while the Beta house will sleep 36 members, all in single rooms. The interior design of the new homes is similar to that of the Riverside and Lakeside dormitories, with two fraternity members sharing a bathroom while still having their own private bedrooms.
Alex Fleming, a junior majoring in business and a DKE member, said the new house will have a lot to offer the UA chapter, in addition to its "good location."
"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 game day," Fleming said.
Bross also said the location of their home was one of the good things about having the new house but also added that the fraternity will now have a place to hold functions and parties.
"We've been having to have our parties at bars and with all of the new pledges there's been no place to party," Bross said. "It'll be really nice having our place back so we can party. Really, that's one of the big things is having a place to hold functions and where we can all get together."
The DKE fraternity was the first fraternity established at the University, founded in 1847. The Beta chapter, however, is not quite as old, with its beginning at the Capstone dating back to 1964.