VIDEO: Grand opening of Phi Delta Theta house

Dream becomes reality President Jerry Farley cuts the ribbon, officially reopening the Kansas Beta chapter house of Phi Delta Theta.

Brian Dulle / Washburn Review

It had been talk for years among alumni and the undergraduates of completely renovating the Kansas Beta chapter of Phi Delta Theta and this last week it finally became a reality marking an historical moment for the Phi Delta Theta chapter at Washburn University and for the Greek community as well.

To celebrate the completion of renovations to the historic Phi Delta Theta chapter house on Washburn’s campus, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held last Friday where individuals could tour the newly renovated facility following the ceremony.

The completed renovations were made possible with a nearly $2 million fundraising campaign completed last spring.  With the support of a lead gift from the late Ronald Richey, of Shoal Creek, Ala., and numerous other Phi Delta Theta alumni.  The structural and historical integrity of the house were able to be preserved while creating a modernized chapter house for the collegiate chapter members.  Located at 1810 SW Mulvane and built in 1927, the chapter house is one of the oldest buildings on campus and one of the few buildings to survive the 1966 tornado that devastated much of Washburn’s campus.

“This project is truly a testament to the dedicated alumni of the Kansas Beta chapter of Phi Delta Theta.  The completion of these renovations is the culmination of several years of preparation, planning and fundraising by committed alumni in partnership with Washburn and the Washburn University Foundations,” said JuliAnn Mazachek, Washburn University Foundation president.

“We are pleased to offer an outstanding facility for the men of Phi Delta Theta to reside.  This project is an investment in not only the Phi Delta Theta chapter at Washburn but the entire Greek community which enhances the quality of student life on our campus,” said Dr. Jerry Farley, president of Washburn University.

Phi Delta Theta alumni, John Fager said the house is a lot different since when he lived there from 1992 to 1997.

“I’m really glad that they kept the first floor, the living room, the dining room and the entrance all kept true to the character of the house as it has always been,” said Fager.

Fager said that everything needs an update and the Kansas Beta chapter was in desperate need of an update to accommodate the needs for future students at Washburn.

“I think it’s a great renovation,” said Fager

Fager and his brother in law, Jeff Heistand donated money to a room that they both had stayed in nicknamed “the lions den.”

“We are real proud to have our names on it,” said Fager

Fager said that every room had its own name and its own personality.

“I don’t know personally how the rooms got their names that was just what they were designated at when we would go through room picks at the beginning of the year we would go in bond number order and the one with the lowest bond got the first pick and you just shouted out which one you wanted,” said Fager.

Current Phi Delta Theta member Lucas Mullin said the idea for renovations has been around for many years.

“When I first came as a pledge four years ago they were talking that at least the past twenty years there have been rough drafts and stuff like that but for the last four years when I started as a freshmen is when they really picked up the ball and ran with it,” said Mullin

Mullin said they ended up having to move out of the house because there was no way they could live there because it was not up to the safety code and they had to do something.

“We had a lot of new people on our housing board and four years ago is when they sat down and began making a plan with the university and worked out tons and tons of details, tons of red taps and four years later we are in place so it’s pretty awesome,” said Mullin

Mullin said the only thing he is mad about is that he can’t live inside the facilty.

“I’m graduating in May but I did get to see the old house and it is nice to see what it is now and I’m real excited for our current members and recruitment wise because you walk in here and it’s just amazing.  This is an amazing place to live, the rooms are nice, it’s right on campus, parking is fantastic and it’s beautiful,” said Mullin

Mullin said his favorite memory was during his pledge class four years ago.

There were fourteen of us and it’s great to have a middle ground, a place where everybody can just come and hang out and we have not had that the last 2 years.  Being able to be with my pledge brothers and explore the house and see the history of the house is quite something,” said Mullin

Mullin said that before they could only use 2 levels and now they have the basement, first level, second level and third.

We have double the size and if you look around, everything is pretty awesome and I’m excited because it will be a great place for the guys to live, play, have fun and make some good memories.”