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Old Row gets new Lambda Chi Alpha house

Lambda Chi Alpha house

A new house replaced Lambda Chi Alpha's 1930s era home on Old Row. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

The Lambda Chi Alpha house is brand new, but it isn’t exactly your father’s fraternity.

The previous Lambda Chi was a sprawling edifice that had looked south on Evans Avenue since the 1930s and hosted decades of parties and feasts.

Eventually the house wore out. Safety and health concerns and the effects of wear and tear became too much, so DU and the fraternity’s alumni leadership agreed to tear it down and replace it. The University paid two-thirds of the nearly $4 million cost, and Lambda Chi Alpha alumni and other donors funded the balance.

Now Lambda Chi brothers have a squeaky clean, three-story residence they moved into Jan. 1. The house is safe and secure for the 27 members who live there. It’s also an attractive Old Row edifice that’s consistent with surrounding architecture.

But there are differences. An apartment for housemother Jane Bryce is one. The new fraternity house also has central air-conditioning, an ADA-compliant elevator, laundry facilities and a serving kitchen. The jewel of the building is a 1,200-square-foot chapter room with vaulted ceilings, shiny oak floors and huge oak mantel seated around a gas fireplace.

“We haven’t turned it on yet,” confides chapter President Michael Torres. “We’re afraid we’ll blow something up.”

Residences are on the second and third floors. Most are singles, but there are a few doubles. All are small and unfurnished but have windows that open and keypad locking systems.

Members especially love the basement, a chasm of unfinished concrete with plenty of room for well-worn couches, an antique pool table and four 42-inch LCD televisions. Chapter members have been busy sealing floors, painting and planning improvements for the hideaway.

The kitchen is on the main floor and accommodates weekday hot meals delivered by a catering service. Brothers keep the kitchen tidy; DU crews tackle the bathrooms and halls and maintain the building.

Students move in to Lambda Chi Alpha house

Students moved into the new Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house in January. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

“When things are broken, they get fixed instantly,” says sophomore rush chairman Brett Parmelee, whose father, Charles “Chip” Parmelee (BSBA ’74), was chapter president in the ’70s. “You talk to guys who lived [in the old house] in the last year, when all it needed was to be torn down, and they’re just glad that everything works and there’s no mold growing.”

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