Critical Time for 125 Chancellor

Critical Time for 125 Chancellor

by Matt Terry (’02)

I normally like to open by updating you on the progress we’ve made in the last year. But in case you gloss over the rest of this article: we need to fund the replacement of the party room floors. The need for addressing this as soon as possible became apparent following the collapse of the foyer floor during a Brotherhood event.

A large group of Brothers had gathered in the foyer for a cheer, when the ledger board supporting the floor joists sheared from the load-bearing wall. Thankfully, no one was injured during this incident. Upon close inspection, the structural failure appears to be a result of the age of the lumber and the inadequate design. The floors in the common areas of 125 Chancellor were not designed for the loads that they currently face. We recently heard from the insurance company that they will pay for the repair costs in excess of our deductible ($2,500); the foyer and main stairwell have been cordoned off until the repair is made. The foyer floor will require complete replacement from the joists up ($11,000). Further, we are exploring options for reinforcing the party room floors until a more permanent solution can be implemented. In fully replacing the party room floors, the goal would be to install a structure that can carry the dynamic loads presented by a large group of people dancing. While we are currently seeking budgetary estimates from contractors for this scope of work, it could be in excess of $20,000.

The projects planned for this summer are among the higher priority items that compose our Projects List. Among the more urgent items to be tackled are the water supply and sewer lines. The galvanized supply line coming from the meter into the House is badly corroded and mostly held together by the earth that surrounds it. The line is also corroded where it exits the House for the Worthy Master’s Cottage, and a small leak in the pipe wall has formed. These lines will be replaced as soon after graduation as possible. Also, the section of sewer line that passes through the foundation will be repaired, and the penetration of the foundation will be sealed to correct the leak that is allowing small amounts of mud and groundwater into the basement. The railing that frames the balcony, while structurally sound, should be replaced with one that is taller than is currently in place. This will make it more difficult for people to sit on the railing, and increase safety for those walking around on the balcony. The final project for which we anticipate having funding this summer is the door leading out to the balcony, which has become irreparable through a combination of wear-and-tear, party damage by a guest, and vandalism.

In the last year, we completed several smaller projects. With the help of Ryan Ahearn (’06) and Andrew Taylor (‘10), the water-damaged plaster ceilings in second-story bedrooms, a result of the leaks in the old roof, were demolished and repaired with sheetrock. The old coal-fired chimneys were sealed, out of concern for air quality (mold) and in order to reduce drafts. Funds were also spent repairing bathroom plumbing and other wear-and-tear maintenance items.

That is what your generous donations in the last year have gone to fund, and where we anticipate needing to fill funding gaps. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome. I can be reached via email at and via phone at 434-466-5190.