We are so excited to launch the We campaign to renovate the Kappa House and restore the Shannon Courtyard, aka the Kappa Courtyard, next to the Rotunda. And, more importantly, we’re delighted to have you and our other sisters by our side as we move forward! Now is the time for all of us to Pay It Forward and support the Kappas to come. We felt lots of excitement—and heard many great questions—during the Reunion Weekend. We’ve answered your questions below, so please take a look below. If you still have questions about giving, please contact Lee Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about the house, please contact Catherine Brown at email@example.com. If you have questions about the Shannon Courtyard, please contact Kate Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does giving work?
UVA is processing all donations, and donations directed to the Kappa Kappa Gamma capital campaign are considered contributions to the University and will also be credited as gifts to the University of Virginia as part of UVA’s Honor the Future campaign. Donations are tax-deductible.
Pledges and Donations
- Please consider making a donation and a pledge to give over 5 years. Sustained giving will have the greatest impact for this campaign.
- Pledges can also be mailed. Checks should be made payable to Kappa Kappa Gamma Capital Campaign, and don’t forget to include the account number (03739) in the memo line!
- If you would like to email your donation, please contact Travis Robertson at email@example.com. (Do not email credit card information!)
- Does your employer match UVA contributions? If so, please provide your employer information.
If you are interested in a naming opportunity, please contact Joann Vaughn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study lounge—2nd floor
Study lounge—3rd floor
House Director Suite
Dry Bar—2nd floor
Dry Bar—3rd floor
Downstairs bathroom (2)
Partial Walkway (15)
Q. Why is now the time to renovate the house?
A. The house was built in the late 1970s when borrowing money was quite expensive. With interest rates at 16%, Epsilon Sigma could only afford to construct the house to meet existing needs. Since then, the needs of the collegiate Kappas have changed, the needs of the chapter have changed, and the chapter has grown. With over 170 active members during spring semester, women cannot fit into the chapter room during meetings. Study space is very limited, and residents use every surface in the house during afternoons and evenings if they are lucky enough to snag a spot The bedrooms are so tiny that custom beds and mattresses (smaller than twin size) were constructed to accommodate two residents per room. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the house does not feel like a welcoming, gracious home for current members or alumnae.
Q. Who owns the house?
A. You do! In fact, WE all do! All members pay a house corporation fee upon joining Epsilon Sigma, which contributes to the House Corporation, the nonprofit organization set up to manage the finances and operations for the chapter house. In 2006, the House Corporation finally paid off the last mortgage for the house. Since then, the House Corporation has continued to cover major maintenance and repair costs, including a kitchen renovation, roof replacement, HVAC replacement, redecoration, and more.
Q. Does Kappa Kappa Gamma Headquarters help pay for the house?
A. No. The Fraternity Headquarters does not contribute to purchasing, financing or managing chapter houses. The chapter house is the responsibility of Epsilon Sigma.
Q. How much will this cost?
A. The restoration of the house is estimated to cost $6.5 million, and restoration of the “Kappa” courtyard will cost $500,000. Our goal is to raise $2.5 million to help renovate the Kappa House (the remainder will be financed through bank loans) and to provide all the funding for the “Kappa” courtyard restoration.
Q. Why is the campaign launching now?
A. The complexity of the project required working through many approval processes, such as Charlottesville’s Board of Architectural Review and special use permitting, Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Headquarters approval process, and credit applications. The design had to be developed to a certain extent to estimate construction costs and timing for feasibility studies. Additionally, the House Board needed to plan alternative housing for the chapter, factoring the timing and expense into the financial projections and construction plan, to be certain the project could be positioned for success. Now that we have green lights, it’s time to start fundraising!
Q. How was the renovation created? Who decided on the design?
A. Many active and alumnae Kappas worked on the design. As a first step, the Epsilon Sigma House Board, upon recommendation from Headquarters, hired Greek Resource Services (GRS), specialists in Greek housing, to manage the planning and design process. GRS helped to guide the needs assessment and program, interview and select architects and contractors, conduct financial planning and oversee the project through completion. During the program development and design, the House Board members, five to eight active members, six alumnae volunteers, the house director and GRS collaborated with the architects, Mitchell Matthews, to develop the design for the house.
Q. Are we tearing the house down, or just renovating?
A. This project is considered a major renovation. The house was built to industrial standards using the sturdiest materials—steel beams and concrete—so the demolition of these materials is difficult and expensive. However, we don’t want to tear down and rebuild because if more than 60% of the original structure is removed, the house must be rebuilt with an even smaller footprint to squeeze into current setbacks based on City requirements. So, our solution is to create more common spaces, study spaces, and larger bedrooms by reconfiguring the rooms, adding an addition to the back (by cantilevering an addition over the parking lot), and building upward (by adding a third floor for residents).
Q. When will the renovation start?
A. Demolition of the current house will begin in May 2020, as soon as the spring semester ends. That means We have exactly 15 months to complete the project and prepare for 30 new residents to move in during August 2021!. The project will be financed by a bridge loan from the bank while we raise the necessary funds for construction.
Q. Where is the Shannon Courtyard and why is it involved?
A. The Shannon Courtyard, designed by renowned architect Laurie Olin and located near the Rotunda, is the final part of the Rotunda restoration that remains incomplete. Epsilon Sigma alumnae’s strong support for the University led the University to offer Epsilon Sigma the unique opportunity to claim this important place right on Grounds. With the commitment and leadership of Epsilon Sigma, the University will be able to fully realize all design elements of the renovation and fulfill Mr. Jefferson’s intended use for the iconic space. Our support for the project will fund the completion of the courtyard’s plans, including the construction of a fountain at the center of the courtyard and plantings. Kappa Kappa Gamma will be recognized for completing this final restoration of the Rotunda grounds, extending our chapter’s reach onto Grounds at the “Kappa Courtyard.” If you have questions about the Shannon Courtyard, please contact Kate Gibson at email@example.com
Q. How can I help?
A. We could use your help in a number of ways!.
- Please make a pledge—and make it over 5 years. We need everyone to give!
- Be a class captain! We will need points of contact for the different classes for this campaign. If you’d like to be the class captain for your pledge year, please contact Lee Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Encourage your class to give. There will be naming opportunities coming soon, so think about how you can support this project and how you can encourage others to do so. Maybe you and a few classmates want to combine your gifts to honor someone with a naming opportunity.
- Join the House Board. Serving remotely is welcomed. Most communications occur by email and phone, and members can call in or come to Charlottesville to participate in the three to four meetings per