Renovation Plans

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Decades of underinvestment in the long term maintenance of the house by the Tri-Kap Board put unfair burden on generations of undergraduates to support an aging physical plant. The need to bring the house up to new building codes and College requirements gives Tri-Kap the opportunity to both address the needs of a house that is 90 years old and ensure the long term care of the new building.

The Board has worked with architects, construction companies, building inspectors, lawyers, local officials, the College, undergraduate classes, and alumni to develop plans for the new 1 Webster Avenue. After careful consideration of the code requirements, needs of undergraduates and issues specific to the physical plant, the Board has determined that a $3 million project to renovate, rebuild, and expand our current house is best. The project will also seed an endowment to ensure long term support for the new house. With this project we will address:

  1. College, federal, and local codes – We must install more bathrooms, create a second egress via staircase from all levels of the house, make the house handicap accessible and upgrade the life-safety systems. New bathrooms in the basement and 2nd floor and handicap accessibility on the 1st floor will bring the house up to current codes.
  2. Our needs – structural issues with the porch led to chronic leaks and mold in the kitchen area of the basement. We will close off that portion of the basement to address this longstanding issue. In addition, undergraduates have highlighted our need to modernize and increase the size of bedrooms to better compete with current housing options on campus.
  3. An expansion – expanding the house allows us to convert most rooms to singles while also increasing the number of beds to 23 total to address demand. The additional bedrooms will be larger and more unique spaces in the house. The expansion will provide the room to replace the kitchen space that we lose in the basement and install a new brother’s only space on the 1st floor. The rent from the additional bedrooms will help us finance the project.

The Board is addressing these issues with an eye on cost, regulatory issues, time to completion, durability, and future maintenance. In planning the project, the Board considered:

  1. Selling the house to the College and letting them control renovations and future use
  2. Razing the current house and building a new house from the ground up
  3. Renovating and rebuilding the current house

Given the recent construction experiences of SigEp fraternity and Kappa Delta sorority, the cost of option 2 would likely be close to $275/square foot. For our ~12,000 square foot plans, this would cost between $3-$3.5 million vs. the estimated $2.50-$2.75m for option 3. Option 2 would require a full year including demolition and construction while option 3 should only require 7 to 9 months.

After careful consideration and consultation, including inspection of the infrastructure of the house, we will pursue the third option to renovate and rebuild. This option:
• gives us more independence and control over the use vs. selling to the College.
• saves between $500k and $1m vs razing the current house.
• decreases time to completion by four to six months vs. razing the house.
• allows for partial use during construction so as to minimize the impact on undergraduate operations.
• preserves regulatory exceptions granted to Tri-Kap by the Zoning Board, which grandfathered the house on 1 Webster Avenue with respect to issues with the parking lot and property lines.
• reuses materials from the original construction of the house that are structurally preferable to newer regulation materials
• preserves the look, character and feel of key aspects of the house as best as possible, including the GOTE Room, the living room, the basement and the facade.
• minimizes the environmental impact of construction.

The new vision for Tri-Kap is a house on 1 Webster Ave. with 23 beds, additional bathrooms, new brotherhood only spaces, a new kitchen, a new second floor porch, improved accessibility and major upgrades to heating, plumbing, and safety systems. The Board developed the best plan to address our needs, upgrade the house, control costs and remain true to the Tri-Kap we all remember. We hope you’ll join us in this vision for Tri-Kap's future.

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