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University of Missouri

Greek Town Gets a Facelift

Beta Theta Pi’s new digs.

exterior of Beta Theta Pi house

More than 400 alumni donated $9.4 million to build the 40,000-square-foot, three‐story Beta Theta Pi house at 520 S. College Ave., which opened in fall 2012.

Dave Spence of St. Louis didn’t wake up one morning planning to donate $1 million to his fraternity. But when he learned that the Beta Theta Pi house — built in 1959 at 520 S. College Ave. — had outdated sprinkler systems and spotty Internet connections, it’s what he did. His is one of three $1 million‐plus donations that made the new 40,000-square-foot, three‐story house possible. More than 400 alumni donated a total of $9.4 million.

Spence, BS HE ’81, who directed the capital campaign, says being a Beta is a defining factor in his life. “It raised my personal threshold for what I expected from myself,” says Spence.

The house has a 130‐seat auditorium and a 150‐person great hall. Spence hopes this will connect the fraternity to MU. “We want to set the trend for being more inclusive on campus,” Spence says. The fraternity plans to work with MU to host a lecture series in the house.

Chris Cary of Parkville, Mo., president of MU’s Zeta Phi chapter, says updates to the house include enhanced security such as fingerprint scanners at all entrances to the house.

But sometimes it’s the little things that are most exciting. “The previous house was a fortress with cinder‐block walls,” says Cary, a senior business administration and political science major. “That made it near impossible to get wireless Internet.”

Cary says all rooms are occupied — 68 in the new house and 56 in the annex — and the enthusiam among the brothers is at an all‐time high. “Part of what’s made this so great is to see how much our alumni care,” Cary says. “With that comes a big responsibility and a lot of excitement.”

aerial view of greek town

Six other houses are undergoing construction or major renovations: 1: Chi Omega; 2: Sigma Sigma Sigma; 3: Pi Beta Phi; 4: Alpha Gamma Sigma; 5: Sigma Kappa; 6: Delta Gamma. Map © 2012 Google.

Six other houses are undergoing construction or major renovations:

1. Chi Omega

Location: 406 Burnam Ave.
Construction start: July 1, 2012
Expected completion:
July 15, 2013
Estimated cost: $4 million
The house will open just in time to celebrate the Rho Alpha chapter’s 100th birthday. Features will include underground parking, an elevator and more community spaces.

2. Sigma Sigma Sigma

Location: 507 Rollins St.
Construction start:
September 2011
Completion: July 31, 2012
Estimated cost: $5 million
The new 27,000-square-foot Tri Sig house has 12 suites to shelter 60 women. Residents can park in the underground structure and take an elevator to their rooms as needed.

3. Pi Beta Phi

Location: 511 Rollins St.
Renovation start: May 2009
Completion: Aug. 3, 2012
Estimated cost: $745,000
The three-year renovation included updates to three group bathrooms, new furniture, updated laundry facilities and a new TV room.

4. Alpha Gamma Sigma

Location: 500 and 502 Rollins St.
Construction start: Aug. 7, 2012
Expected completion:
Senior apartments: Jan. 10, 2013; Annex and parking structure: August 2013
Estimated cost: $3.2 million
The house stands at 407 Burnam Ave., but the fraternity is building apartments for 12 seniors, an annex for 32 men and a two-story parking structure.5. Sigma Kappa

5. Sigma Kappa

Location: 908 Curtis Ave.
Expected start: December 2012
Expected completion:
August 2013
Estimated cost: $1 million
When the women move back into the house Pi Kappa Phi rented since 2004, they’ll find everything’s different. From the upstairs to the downstairs, major renovations are in the works.

6. Delta Gamma

900 S. Providence Road
Renovation start: June 1, 2012
Completion: August 2012
Estimated cost: $60,000
The sorority had been renovating parts of the house for three years. During summer 2012, new carpet and wallpaper were installed and the bathrooms were overhauled.