The house is going into its third year at capacity, and has verbal commitments that should fill it for at least two more. All residential room furniture in the house has been upgraded to campus dorm quality pieces. All of the public areas have been renovated and quality used furniture has been purchased to replace those worn down. Historical features, including the pocket doors and fireplaces, have been restored and are near original condition. The piano is being rehabilitated in time for a re-dedication at Homecoming. We are actually running out of interior projects that can be completed by non-professionals.
On the exterior, we are starting a three-year plan to upgrade the landscaping to be low maintenance and attractive year-round. The side and back porches have been completely rebuilt. The driveway has finally been replaced.
Financially, much progress has been made. We have worked to lower our utilities, do as many projects in-house as possible, and conserve supplies. Rent is comparable to IWU housing, and this has helped us to keep the house at capacity. Most important, the mortgage is paid off, and the house is not carrying any debt.
Now we enter the next phase...large-scale external maintenance. The house is nearly 120 years old, and upkeep will always be a need. These are projects that must be contracted out. Some of them, such as the Room 4 flat roof, are addressing issues that have been plaguing the house for years. Others, such as the tuck-pointing address issues that come with aging masonry. After soliciting bids and checking references on multiple contractors, we have settled on dealing with Olde Tyme Masonry as our primary contractor. They have bid out five projects, and have the time to complete all of them prior to the house opening in mid-August. They have been the contractor for many Franklin Park home restorations and also our new driveway. We are pleased with the quality of their work, and they have put in writing their commitment to long-term care and maintenance of these projects well beyond the completion date.
The projects include:
Room 4 Flat Roof Repair/Replacement - $6800
Front Porch Soffit/Fascia Replacement - $8500
Chapter Room Bay Window Rebuild - $4800
West Side (Turret to Side Porch) Tuckpointing - $11000
Roof Flashing/Counterflashing Repair - $3700
Grand Total - $34800
I think you can see where this is going. We wish to maintain the structural and financial stability we have cultivated over the years. Currently, the House is in a position to pay for 35-40% of these projects and still have sufficient cash to start the year. We must avoid draining our reserves, as we do have to install a legally mandated $95,000 (estimated) sprinkler system by 2019, and will reluctantly postpone some of these projects if need be. However, delaying the external maintenance will raise the cost by as much as 20%, so we feel now is the time to act.
Contributions will be directed solely towards the projects listed above, and if contributions exceed that amount, will be directed only towards future exterior maintenance such as tuckpointing, window repair, etc. An online tally of total pledges & contributions will also be at the link below.
I encourage you to contribute to the 'Always Home' Capital Campaign. You may do so online at:
Every contribution will be recognized! Have some fun, and donate enough to have a custom wakeup call delivered to a Brother you haven’t seen in years! Name a residential room after a cherished Brother. Let your students know you are a Sinfonian by proudly having your morning coffee from a chapter mug. Our hope is that by offering some tangible recognition of your gift, future generations will be aware of your sacrifice to help preserve our home.
303 E. Chestnut is more than a building, and more than a 'frat' house. It has been, and will continue to be, home to generations of young men of music. When they go out into the world with an IWU diploma in hand and a Sinfonian pin over their heart, we want them to know that our Fraternity, our house, is always their home.
We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope to see you at Homecoming on October 18, 2014, where we will celebrate our 90th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the School of Music!
House Board Director
DonationsSee top donations
- Daniel Vendt
- Alan Harler
- James Gibson
- James and Floride Kidder (Kidder Music)
- Ray Hedrick
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