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The Daily Tar Heel

2 Fraternities Lose Houses, 1 Closes Doors for Sprinklers

Renovations result of Chapel Hill mandate.

Due to the high cost involved in installing new sprinklers and revamping old houses, some fraternities have had to give up their homes.

The Chapel Hill Town Council passed an ordinance in 1996 mandating that all fraternity and sorority houses install sprinkler systems by November 2001. The requirement was prompted by a 1996 fire in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house that killed five students.

As of now, all houses not under construction have met the requirements.

Jay Anhorn, director of Greek affairs, said that the sprink ler systems themselves range in cost from $50,000 to $80,000 and that the renovations can bring the total for each house to about $1 million.

The Sigma Nu fraternity house at 109 Fraternity Court is closed, and the chapter is inactive. Anhorn said the Sigma Nu alumni decided to close the house and the chapter but hope to reorganize in fall 2003. He said the house will probably be rented out to other fraternities until then.

The Pi Lambda Phi fraternity has not lost its chapter but has lost its house, located at 107 Fraternity Court. The house has been sold to Guy Solie, head of the realty company Trinity Properties, who owns several houses around Duke University and N.C. State University.

Solie plans to divide the house into six air-conditioned suites with amenities like Internet connections. He said the house will not be a fraternity house but could be rented by individual fraternity members. "The dorms are deplorable, and I'm horrified that all the dorms don't have air conditioning," Solie said. "I have a vision for University housing in 2002."

Construction on the house will probably be finished this fall, but the house will not open until the spring, Solie said.

Pi Lambda Phi is still an active chapter, even though it had to give up its house. The members are living around Chapel Hill, said K.C. Carter, the fraternity's president.

The house occupied by Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at 106 Fraternity Court is being completely remodeled after the new sprinkler system is installed. Anthony Wood, a representative of Resolute Building Co., the company doing the work on the house, said that the building has been gutted and that new construction will begin in September.

Wilder Harvard, the president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said the fraternity alumni, who provide the majority of the funds for the construction, decided to completely redo the house while new sprinklers are installed. "Part of being a (member) is the house, and the alumni love coming back to the house," Harvard said. "We're very fortunate."

The Pi Kappa Alpha house is scheduled to be finished in January. Until then, Harvard said, fraternity members are meeting in houses around Chapel Hill that have been passed down to the brothers over the years.

"Last year it was almost depressing because we didn't have a house, and there were so many unknowns," Harvard said. "But this year, we know we're going to get it."

Harvard said he is looking forward to the opening of the houses in Fraternity Court because it hasn't seemed the same with so many houses under construction.

"It honestly can't be called Frat Court right now."

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