Turning a house into a Sorority house is definitely a challenge.
Working on a house that has been modified into apartments, that has been modified into a sorority house over almost 100 years can be even more of a challenge.
Starting as a possible stucco repair and turning into a 1.3 million dollar renovation was not what anyone thought was going to Happen when GNB first met with Sandy Durcharme (property manager) with Lambda Delta Phi.
Expressing certain maintenance issues and a need for additional space the conversation moved from a simple stucco repair to working with GNBs Architect to completely redesign the space and add the needed square footage to accommodate the growing sorority that was started in 1961.
Careful planning was taken to add additional bedrooms, bathrooms an entire new kitchen and dining hall for the girls while keeping large portions of the 1922 Build homes original features, history and Charm.
ADA compliancy was not something anyone thought about in the 1920s. A huge challenge with this build was conforming parts of the build to meet ADA regulations. This was something the sorority was long looking to do regardless of the requirements. Being able to accommodate anyone that wanted to be a member was now a reality. A conforming main level was designed including a complete ADA compliant kitchen, bath, common areas, and an accessible ramp for easy access in and out of the home.
Ensuring the highest levels of safety by adding a new water main and fire suppression system with monitoring, egress windows and fire escapes for the upper levels was long overdue.
This remains one of the most rewarding but challenging projects for GNB to date. Roadblocks seemed to be everywhere. From the City on how the build was classified before and after the remodel, working within a tight city lot, being across the street from the U of M campus, zero available parking, across the street from the State Fair, displacing 20 sorority college girls, Less than friendly neighbors, not to mention we were on an extremely tight schedule to get it done by the start of the school year.
In the end, the project couldn’t have turned out better. We can confidently say that all the sorority sisters including the alumni couldn’t be happier. We have been fortunate enough to make great friends and relationships throughout the process and even had the opportunity to be at the ribbon cutting for the Grand opening and presented with our very own plank as an Honorary Member!