Another school year is upon us and although we are starting off the year a little shaky, there is a buzz on campus brewing with our football team. Hopefully Lovie can turn our program around and get us bowl ready quickly. As we start another school year, the Sigma Rho Housing Corporation (SRHC) wanted to follow up with you regarding two very important announcements coming from our chapter.
First, it is with great pleasure to inform you that our (Sigma Rho) chapter has been officially reinstated at the University of Illinois. If you recall, back in 2009 the SRHC along with our General Fraternity made the decision to close the house and recall the chapter as a result of several activities occurring that were inconsistent with the values of our fraternity and unbecoming of the brotherhood for which we all strive. And although we have been back on campus and in our house the past few years, we had only been a colony (a chapter in probation, if you will) until now.
Now after 7 years of a lot of hard work and dedication by many, we are officially back on campus and stronger than ever. Our grade point average is near the top of all fraternities, our pledge classes are vibrant and our philanthropy activities are thriving allowing Betas to regain its outstanding reputation on campus. In recognition of this great feat, all of our alumni will be invited to a special installation ceremony this coming April 15th. Be on the lookout for an invitation as we hope you’ll be able to attend.
Secondly, as we indicated in our last newsletter this past Spring regarding the status of our fraternity house at 202 E. Daniel, it is becoming extremely difficult and costly to properly maintain a 125 year old structure much less try to make it “state of the art” in order to compete with the myriad of brand new dorms and apartment complexes sprouting up all around campus. And as we learned from the fundraising analysis performed in 2014, without some drastic financial support from our alums, we will be challenged to raise enough money to properly restore the house and bring it up to current standards. As a result, we have been engaged in discussions with a local design/construction/property management company, Royal Properties (owned and operated by a few of our very own Sigma Rho Betas…Mike Henneman and Rich Schmidt ’75), to design a new concept for fraternity living that would both sustain Betas on campus for years to come as well as create a more modern (“state of the art”) living experience for Betas and students in general.
Just this past month, the SRHC unanimously approved the motion to work with Royal Properties with the expectation of having a new facility in place for the 2018/19 school year. It would entail us selling our property to Royal Properties so that they can develop a financially viable and fraternity friendly property that would include a significant (>$2.5 million) investment by the Sigma Rho Housing Corporation tied together with a long term lease of the structure while also offering our alumni the opportunity in which to invest. The new concept house will be aimed at satisfying all of the social needs of our undergrads (e.g. chapter room, dining hall, TV lounge, social gathering space, library/study) as well as our returning alumni (e.g. meeting rooms). This Betas only structure would be adjacent to a newly constructed apartment complex that would be available for rent to both Betas and students at-large. And although the apartments would reside on the same lot as the fraternity house, the house would be locked off and secured from the apartments with separate access limited to Betas.
This new concept will allow Betas to live together in a new and modern apartment complex yet have direct and private access to the fraternity “social” house. By having the apartments separate from the house will allow the SRHC (and alumni) to focus its time, attention and financial resources on a structure that is designed and totally dedicated to the social aspect of the fraternity without having to worry about day-to-day living arrangements and conditions…that will be the responsibility of the apartment complex property management company.
Lastly, this project will offer our alums with an investment opportunity allowing many of you to invest in the future while staying connected with those memories of yesteryear. Whether or not you have interest in becoming an investor or if you are concerned with the direction the board is taking, please let us know immediately.
Of course, we welcome any questions or comments and urge you to stay connected as this project unfolds. Thanks for your support.
Yours in _kai_
Sigma Rho Housing Corporation October 2016
Dave McMurray – President
U of I Sigma Rho ‘81
Jim Banaszak– Treasurer
Colorado School of Mines ‘83
Lucas Siron – Secretary
St. Louis University ‘04
Miami ’07 Beta General Fraternity
U of I Sigma Rho ‘90
U of I Sigma Rho ‘79
Central Michigan ’09 Beta General Fraternity
Aaron Reinsbach – Current Chapter President
U of I Sigma Rho ‘18