This past month both the vacant Phi Kappa Psi house at 203 W. College Ave. and the vacant building at 103 W. College Ave. were deconstructed due to structural weaknesses and high costs of renovation.
The Phi Psi’s were instructed to find a new residency in 2009 after the Fire Marshall’s recommendation to vacate the building due to issues with the industrial oven and general structural deterioration of the house.
Kavanaugh’s Office City once owned the building at 103 W. College Ave. until Wittenberg seized the opportunity to purchase the property two years ago. Wittenberg had hoped to put student run businesses or Witt Entrepreneurs in the building, said Dean Sarah Kelly, Dean of Students and Vice President for Enrollment Management.
“We did thorough analysis of both properties for a number of reuse possibilities,” said John Paulsen, Director of Physical Plant, Safety, and Environment. “This included third party reviews by local architects and it was determined that the cost of reuse or retrofitting exceeded the cost of demolition and reconstruction.”
The decision was made at the January meeting of the Board of Directors after receiving reports for both buildings. Due to building codes and restrictions, the area at 103 W. College Ave. will remain a green space. If the Greek community expands, the property at 203 W. College Ave. has potential to become a new home to either a sorority or fraternity, or if enrollment continues to grow, an apartment building may be constructed, said Kelly.
Originally constructed in the early 1900s, the property at 203 W. College Ave. was home to the Alpha Xi Delta sorority until the 1990s when they were removed from campus and Phi Kappa Psi moved in.
“We had a get together after the first night of wrecking, and just stood on the street overlooking the rubble and told stories,” said Phi Kappa Psi senior, Jordan Millice. “I think it’s very important that the younger members of the fraternity understand exactly what that house meant to me and the fellow seniors who knew it so well our freshman year.”
When alumnae of Alpha Xi Delta were informed that the building was to be deconstructed, many made the trip to have one last tour through the house.
“It was really special to be with the alums,” said Kelly, who accompanied the alumnae through the house. “It was fun to be a part of their reminiscing and nostalgia.”
(Meagan Steed / email@example.com)