But a few fraternity houses have had to close their doors during the past year to renovate and install sprinkler and alarm systems.
Because of a fire in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house in 1996 that killed five UNC students, the town issued an ordinance requiring specific sprinkler and alarm systems to be installed in all fraternity and sorority houses.
Most houses fulfilled the installation requirements, which were due by today, but five fraternity houses could not meet the regulations and had to close for renovations this year.
"Other than the seven houses that were already closed this year, all of the houses met the sprinkler requirements," said Jay Anhorn, director of Greek Affairs.
Anhorn said the five houses closed for renovations this year are Lambda Chi Alpha, Delta Upsilon, St. Anthony's Hall, Kappa Sigma and Pi Kappa Alpha. He said two other houses, Pi Lambda Phi and Delta Sigma Pi, also are closed indefinitely.
Most of the fraternities that have not met the ordinance requirements said financial concerns inhibited them. "We are still in the fund-raising process," said Mark Hosemann, president of Lambda Chi Alpha. "We had to close because we couldn't raise the money to put the sprinklers in before the deadline."
After discovering the cost of sprinkler installment, many houses decided to raise funds for other renovations to be completed at the same time.
"We are doing other renovations to our house," Hosemann said. "That is why it has been such a lengthy process."
Delta Upsilon President Nicholas Carr said his fraternity decided to entirely rebuild its house because the cost of installment was nearly two-thirds of the amount required to completely demolish and rebuild their house. "The sprinklers were almost as expensive as rebuilding the entire house," he said.
Anhorn said because the expenses of installment are so high, he is pleased with the number of houses that complied with the ordinance. "It is definitely a big cost," he said. "They were given five years to do it, and it took the groups that time to meet the cost."
The five fraternities closed for renovations were not the only groups that struggled with funding the sprinkler installment.
The Kappa Psi fraternity, a coed pharmaceutical fraternity, had trouble raising the funds for the sprinkler ordinance. Franklin Roye, Kappa Psi alumni chairman, said that after raising most of the money, the fraternity wanted to take out a loan but was unable to because of a new University policy. Roye said they finally were able to acquire the money because several alumni and two brothers co-signed on a loan.
Overall, most fraternity presidents said that despite the cost, the safety offered by the new sprinklers is worth the monetary price. "It is a fair requirement, but it is difficult to raise money, especially now," Hosemann said. "It is definitely for a worthy cause, though."
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