Construction underway for women’s fraternity

Emily Dotson

In 2010, the women of Alpha Xi Delta had the rug pulled out from under them.

That year they learned their house was going to be torn down to make room for the completion of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science building.

“They told us when they were taking it down and where we would be moving,” said Chelsea Johnson, president of Alpha Xi Delta. “We had a span of two weeks to get everything moved out.”

With limited time and few options, the fraternity decided to move forward with plans of living in the new Greek Village. Stretched out along 20th Avenue and across from McCrory Gardens, the Alpha Xi Delta house will be the first of many to occupy the new Greek Village, an idea that has been floating around for more than 40 years.

“It was fast, but we adjusted really well,” Johnson said. Alpha Xi Delta events, such as formals and recruiting were not interrupted by the construction.

Ceremonial ground breaking in November 2010 had the women of Alpha Xi Delta looking forward to moving into their new two-story home this August. The new space will be complete with an outdoor patio, a grand living area and enough storage for the 16 women it will house.

Johnson, who will be among the first group to live in the home, is looking forward to the new house in Greek Village and said “it will definitely strengthen our Greek community.”

Jonathan Meendering, lead designer for the Alpha Xi Delta house, has been working closely with the sorority and contractor. The site for the house is still in the construction phase. Furnishings and finishes will be ordered within the next two months, while installation will take place in roughly three months.

Meendering and the designArc team asked the women to describe their dream home and came up with

a “coastal cottage” feeling. From that, designArc, the architecture firm, was able to provide the women with some reference images.

“Based on that information, we put together a few different schemes,” Meendering said. These included details like the color palate, materials and tiles that will be used in their oversized kitchen.

The main level was designed to accommodate all 42 members, with a president’s meeting room big enough to conduct meetings and other sorority events. Some features in the new home will reflect the Alpha Xi Delta Greek history, such as the stainless steel light fixtures with a rose cut out.

Other special details like shades of purple will be used for the color palate, along with neutrals so the girls would be able to put their own accents into the home.

When planning a home to fit 16 women, Meendering and team had their hands full.

“It’s a balancing act,” Meendering said. “We tried to stay in budget. We didn’t want it to look like an apartment building.”

Housing Corp, who is leasing the land, had a few requirements to keep the feel in Greek Village like a residential neighborhood. Certain elements on the exterior, like siding and brickwork had to be approved.

For now, the women are divided into two homes along Eighth Street, near the Pius XII Newman Center. Alpha Xi Delta has been working with Housing Corp to set up a fundraising campaign to lessen the budget woes associated with building a new house.