Members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity will move into a brand new house next fall. The $2.3 million dollar house is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in May or June.
The current SAE house was built in 1962 and will be torn down over the summer after the new house is completed. The new parking lot will be where the current house sits.
Overseeing the project is The House Corp of South Dakota and a group of SAE alumni. The alumni helped create a building committee who deals with day-to-day issues, as well as fundraising, according to House Corp President Mark Ibis.
The project jumped to life when SAE alum Harvey Jewitt gifted land near the DakotaDome to SAE. After consideration, it was decided that the fraternity wanted to remain near the other Greek life houses, said SAE President Austin Gooden. The DakotaDome land was sold to The Heights and boosted the fundraising that previously began in 2015.
“There was a feasibility study prior to that. All of the funding has come from alumni donations, land sale and bank financing,” Gooden said.
The new house will be a complete transformation from the current house, said Ibis.
“The building will allow us to get back to a fully functional kitchen and serve meals in-house to get back to eating together, fellowship together getting back to some of the pieces that we have been able to do in a very long time,” Ibis said.
According to Ibis, the current house has been flagged by the fire department for being under code for several years. The city has also threatened to shut the house down for safety violations.
The current house doesn’t have an HVAC system or insulation and it’s not energy efficient. Other problems include access to data or WiFi signal due to cinder block walls and the basement has flooded consistently for decades.
“The current house is literally impossible to update because in 1962 it was built more like a bomb shelter than a house,” Ibis said.
The new house is set to hold 40 members. It will also be up to date both structurally and technologically, Ibis said.
“The new house will have an enhanced, quiet, well-lit and comfortable study space. It will include wireless high-speed internet access and will be set up suite-style similar to Coyote Village,” Ibis said
The new house will also have an outdoor gathering area for chapter events.
“I’m most excited for the outdoor area because it will serve as space for Alumni gatherings and chapter entertainment areas and will have basketball and volleyball courts,” sophomore member Parker Johnston said.
Gooden said the new house is something the SAE men have been waiting for, for 50 years, and they are excited for the construction to be completed.
“We are all excited. Our current house is over 50 years old and it shows. The new house will be a whole new life experience for those individuals that will have the opportunity to live in the house,” Gooden said.