Junior Emily Sparkman watched her former house being torn down as renovations continue on the Alpha Delta Pi house, spotting her demolished room from the parking lot.
Major renovations to the Alpha Delta Pi sorority house began this summer and are expected to be completed by fall 2020.
The ADPi Delta Delta chapter invited current members and alumni to an informal beam-signing ceremony Nov. 7 at the ADPi house parking lot so they could feel included in the changes underway for their sorority house.
Sparkman has been involved with the Delta Delta chapter since her freshman year in 2017 and lived in the house her sophomore year.
“It’s really special to be the last one to have lived in the old house the way it was and then get to experience the new house,” Sparkman said.
Macy Hotchkiss, a senior, said that while she is sad to see the changes coming, she feels “excited that it is growing for new sisters and that they will create new memories in the house, but with the same foundations.”
“The building is scheduled to be open for the fall semester 2020. They are renovating about 10,500 (square feet) of the original 1930's house, demolishing subsequent additions, and adding back on about 15,500 (square feet) of new construction. In the end, it will be about 26,000 (square feet),” Daniel Clairmont, director of Facilities Management said in an email.
The beam ceremony offered seniors like Hotchkiss the ability to leave their mark on the house despite graduating before it is completed.
“We’ll live on forever with our names here,” Hotchkiss said.
The sorority has met at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry house and had chapter meetings in the Arkansas Union while the house has been under construction.
Stephanie Harper, a freshman, hopes to live in the completed house next year, she said.
“It would be so cool to be the first person to live in it and just really special because I’m with my sisters and we’re the first ones to get to break in the house,” Harper said. “It’s just exciting to get so much closer with people in my pledge class.”
ADPi’s Delta Delta chapter has grown in recent years, leaving their house too small to accomodate the group’s needs, Sparkman said.
“We’ve been on campus for so long, but we haven’t been able to update our house like other houses,” Sparkman said.
Many members felt mixed emotions about the house, upset to see their beloved house change but eager for those changes to be completed, Sparkman said.
“My room is actually gone,” Sparkman said. “I can see, right there is where my closet was.”
Along with current members, many alumnae attended the ceremony as well.
Charlotte Taylor, ADPi alumna and president of the house corporation, feels the beam signing ceremony offered a “way for chapter alumnae to be represented in the building,” she said. “We will forever be in the house.”
The sorority has been saving for renovations for six years, Taylor said. Although real plans weren’t created until years later, they knew they were growing too fast and outgrowing the house’s current capacity, she said.
“I love to see the greek system at UofA growing, and this is just a part of it,” said alumna and House Corporation member Liz Mullins Taylor.
Mullins Taylor hopes the new house allows the current members to create stronger bonds that will last longer than their time spent in college, she said.
“You’re an alumni longer than you are an active member,” Taylor said, “so I hope they feel that bond of ADPi ... and the friendships and networking they get within the ADPi organization. I hope they are able to expand that beyond their active years here.”