What started as an upgrade to the plumbing system has become a $2.6 million project for the USD chapter of Alpha Xi Delta.
The sorority recently announced their plans to build a new chapter house in its current location in a campaign called Coming Home: The Campaign for 214 North Plum.
Alpha Xi Delta has been planning for the project for the last three years, said Mary Duncan, a 2001 USD graduate and vice president of the House Corporation Board.
Duncan said after learning that necessary plumbing updates would cost upwards of $80,000, the chapter corporation evaluated what else needed to be done, and what option would make most sense for a house more than 80-years-old.
From there, they collaborated with a volunteer architect in Vermillion who had worked on Greek houses in the past. The decision to start over on a new house made more sense than a long list of renovations, Duncan said.
“When you have 50 years of paint on a wall, and every year they’ve painted that wall a different color, that gets to be a lot of work for somebody,” she said.
Duncan said though the project’s start date depends largely on donors, the goal is to start tearing down the house next year.
It’s unknown exactly how long the project will take once the old house is torn down, Duncan said.
Since the new house is going to be built in the same location as the current one, the chapter corporation still has some decisions to make in terms of interim housing for Alpha Xi Delta members.
One of the main changes will be for the next year’s class of sophomores, who would normally be able to opt out of on-campus housing in order to live in the sorority house, will instead remain on-campus for their second year.
Most decisions regarding transitional housing are still in the works, such as if executive members will live on-campus or move into a temporary house, Duncan said.
“What we hope to do is get a dorm floor where new members may be able to move over and maybe even be able to fill up that floor,” she said.
Nicole Dressen, a junior and public relations vice president for the sorority, is one member who may be affected if the house is torn down next year. She said not living in the house would be a “different experience,” but would ultimately be beneficial in the long run.
“I feel it will definitely bring us closer as a chapter, you know, focusing on the true value of sisterhood,” Dressen said. “That’s something I think will be a huge benefit of not living there because we’ll have to be closer with each other to know what’s going on.”
According to a press release announcing the project, $1.4 million is still needed to reach the $2.6 million goal.
Dressen said both current members and alumni will be involved in fundraising efforts.
“It’s very personal to them as well,” Dressen said of the alumni, who’ve all lived in the house at some point in time.
Current Alpha Xi Delta members all brainstormed what they’d like to see in the new house, even if they won’t be on campus to see the plans come to fruition.
Duncan said alumni tried to incorporate as many ideas from current members as possible into the new plans, like a second-story balcony and a grand staircase.
“We just know that it’s going to be our dream because it’s all our ideas put into one,” Dressen said.
Chapter president Alyssa Krug, senior, said even though she won’t get to live in the new house, she plans to come visit.
“A future generation of Alpha Xi Deltas can live and kind of be in our dreams, so that’s really nice,” she said.
Krug said she looks forward to being a part of something that will last.
“Being the kind of pioneers behind this whole new thing that’s going to hopefully be here for another 100 years is kind of amazing,” Krug said.