Sorority begins new semester in renovated house| September 6, 2012
Women filled the Kappa Kappa Gamma house at William & Mary on Tuesday afternoon, admiring the décor, sharing memories with old friends and praising the upgrades to the house’s bathrooms and living areas.
The house, located near Merchants Square on Richmond Road, underwent a major renovation this summer, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday with current members of the Gamma Kappa chapter of the sorority as well as a number of alumnae in attendance.
“We’re so excited just because the house was in dire need of a renovation,” said Madelaine Spangler '13, vice president of the Gamma Kappa chapter. “It’s just been a long time in the making. We’re so happy and so grateful.”
The renovated house, which was built in 1927, includes an expanded living room, an upgraded electrical system, fans in the bedrooms, a new laundry area, new decorations and furniture and a wheelchair ramp.
Funding for the project was provided by Sally Ives Gore '56 with additional support by the Gamma Kappa house board, headed by Bobbie Todd, and the Williamsburg Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association, led by Cynthia Cashore '64.
Gore, who served on the Board of Visitors, approached Vice President for Administration Anna Martin about three years ago with the idea for the project.
“I knew enough about the sorority house to know that we had been patching things together for 50 years,” said Gore, who lived in the house during her junior and senior years at the College. “Houses that have 20 people living in them in 3,300 square feet get pretty tough use.”
The renovation of the house was headed by Mark Ballman, who served as the College’s project engineer. Ballman and his team completed the renovation on time and under budget, coming in at approximately $421,000 for the total cost.
Ballman and many of the others who were involved with the project were on hand for the ribbon-cutting, along with William & Mary President Taylor Reveley.
Reveley praised Gore as a “bastion of generosity” and said the project was an example of how a building can be sustained.
The alumnae at the event also praised the renovation, recalling how different the house was when they lived there.
“It’s amazing just to see how they’ve upgraded it and renovated it and everything,” said Mary Lou Hunt ’83. “It’s certainly a little bit nicer than before, and I hope they keep it that way. I’m sure they will. They are going to be really proud of this space.”
Gore was also impressed with the results of the project.
“I think everybody did a wonderful job,” she said. “It looks much brighter, cleaner, prettier. It’s wonderful.”
With recruitment beginning this weekend, the sorority hopes that the new look of their house, which houses 19 members of the sorority, will help bring in new members.
“I would say that the renovation just added to the glory of the house and made the girls really happy to live here,” said chapter president Remy O’Neill '13. “It’s a unique thing to live in a sorority house and to have a new renovation just added to the glamour of living in a sorority house.”
But, in the longer term, O’Neill also hopes that the newly renovated house serves a symbolic purpose.
“I think that this house physically is awesome because it’s an awesome place for girls to live, especially in college, but I guess it also symbolically shows how important the alumni are in the College of William & Mary’s sorority and fraternity community.”