Work Begins On New Sorority For Theta Phi

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Work is beginning on a new home for UTC sorority Theta Phi.

With 53 members, the Theta Phi Chapter, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, opened their first home located in the Fortwood Historic District in May of 1991.  By 2006, the chapter had outgrown their 1,440-square-foot house and moved to a slightly bigger home nearby, becoming the first residential sorority house in the state of Tennessee. 

By 2014, the chapter had included 140 members and their beloved home was no longer functional.  It was time to sell the property to begin the journey of building the dream home that would meet the needs of their thriving chapter.  Since May of 2014, the chapter has held meetings, events, and recruitment at various locations on campus and the local area, while the local corporation board began the process of purchasing property located in Greek Row off Central Avenue. 

By May of 2017, the property was ready for demolition, and the sorority offered the Chattanooga SWAT team to use the structures located on the property in a simulation training in case of an emergency event.  Late this past summer, alumnae, chapter members, family, friends, neighbors, and University staff joined together to celebrate the long-awaited ground-breaking of Theta Phi’s new home.  Various displays showcased Theta Phi’s history, the projected schedule for construction, house plans, and fundraising initiatives.

Lucy Lasuer, chapter president, kicked off the ceremony with a warm welcome and words of appreciation for those intimately involved in supporting the project stating, “Theta Phi is greatly blessed to have so many people supporting us, this new house is going to allow Theta Phi to grow and prosper to new levels.”

Designed by Justin Dumsday of River Street Architecture, the house boasts approximately 8,300 square feet, including nine bedrooms to house 18 women.  Additional property will provide 21 parking spaces.  “The chapter room is the largest on in Greek Row at about 1,700 square feet and can hold about 200 people. It will have a great wrap around porch with a courtyard off the porch,” said Mr. Dumsday during the ground-breaking ceremony.

Roxanne Evans, vice president of Housing Operations with the Sigma Kappa National Housing Corporation (NHC) board of directors, was present at the ceremony.  “The NHC Board is thrilled to be working with a board on a project of this scope, that is engaged and working hard to accommodate the needs of the chapter members.”

The local housing corporation board is overseeing the project, which includes 9 alumnae volunteers and 3 collegians who have been delegated to serve on the board.  Amanda Bowen, president of the local housing corporation board, stated, “We want the house to be a place for many generations of chapter women to feel like they are home.  Our new home will be welcoming, beautiful, comfortable, and safe.”

“Having house is going to bring us together exponentially.  It’s not just going to be a house, it will be so much more than that—a place to gather together, grow, and make lasting memories,” said Brylee Osland, Theta Phi’s housing chair.   

The house is expected to be completed in 2018.   Fundraising opportunities include a brick campaign in which customizable commemorative bricks will be sold that will be utilized in the new courtyard area, foundation educational grants, and recognition at various donor levels.

Officials said, "For years, Sigma Kappa Sorority has provided a home away from home to many collegians across the nation.  The members of the Theta Phi Chapter, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga are thrilled to continue to foster a strong sisterhood and live their values of friendship, service, loyalty, and personal growth."  

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