On Friday, the Psi chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon at the University of Georgia celebrated a ground breaking ceremony for the remodeling of their house on South Milledge Avenue.
The remodeling has been in the works for several years, according to Nicole Defeo, international executive director and CEO of Delta Phi Epsilon. Planning began approximately five years ago, but the pandemic delayed the project. Finally, work has begun and will continue for several months.
The goal of the $5.5 million project is to expand the house, as it has not had enough space to meet the needs of the chapter. Bedrooms, a common room, a dining room and a commercial kitchen will be added, allowing more chapter members to comfortably live in the house and to provide more space to host events, according to Defeo.
“We have been at a little bit of a disadvantage with how small our house is, so it’s been really exciting that we are going to be able to give our girls the same opportunities that every other house on Milledge has,” Lauren DeBeers, chapter president, said.
All of the renovations will take place on the back half of the house. Delta Phi Epsilon wanted to preserve the “historic front” of the house, Defeo said. Defeo has been involved in each step of the process as executive director of the Housing Corporation, including financing and approving the plans.
All of the work will be done by local businesses Architectural Collaborative and DSI Design & Construction. Representatives of both companies were at the groundbreaking.
“I think that speaks volumes about the talent that exists here in Athens,” Defeo said.
Despite not being able to use their house, the Psi chapter has found ways to have events and build community, such as having chapter meetings or sisterhood events at the Miller Learning Center or on north campus, according to Faith Wert, chapter vice president of housing management.
The Psi chapter was originally chartered in 1935 and rechartered in December 2015. The chapter has produced two international presidents of Delta Phi Epsilon: Stacy Segal, who served from 2016-2020, and Arleen Kruger Honick, who served from 1979-1981. Segal and Honick were both present at the groundbreaking.