Moving On Up

UnCommon Ground - Moving On Up

When construction crews began renovating and expanding Chamberlin Lodge (formerly the Phi Gamma Delta house) last spring, they found a few reminders of the past. An old Schaefer beer can in the attic. A secret ceremonial room under the porch that fraternity brothers accessed through a hidden door built into a faux bookcase, and two sets of Greek letters from the roof gable. Even though the building is no longer home to the Fijis—and hasn’t been since 1995, when it was repurposed for student housing—plenty of history still remains.

The revamped lodge, which welcomed students this summer, is now a five-story apartment-style residence hall, but it still has its Fiji roots. Construction crews tore down the addition built in 1965, and added 13,000 square feet of new space to the original structure built back in 1927. But those telltale white columns are still standing, the east porch railings have been refurbished, and the flagstone that once made up the porches has been transplanted to create a new porch on the north side. (Reusing the material was a sustainable move, too, since the project was built to LEED Gold standards.) The building’s interior, however, is a whole new world. Gone are the dorm-style bedrooms of the past, and we’re pretty sure there aren’t any secret passageways in the lodge anymore, unless some Fiji out there knows something we don’t.

Published October 2012