Two views of the leaning ash tree between Theta Chi and Sigma Chi – the tree was removed in early November

We’ve been chipping away at some lingering projects and making progress on some new ones.  On the completed front, we replaced four windows on the main floor of the house.  The old ones were not Board of Architectural Review (BAR) compliant and had not aged well since they were installed in 2006.  The new windows match what we used in the 2013 renovation, meet BAR specifications, and should be more durable.  We’ve also started replacing the existing wall mounted sinks with pedestal sinks in the basement and first floor bathrooms.  The wall mounted sinks don’t seem secure enough for fraternity life and we’re expecting the pedestal sinks to hold up well.

One of the new projects was removing a large ash tree on the border of our property and Sigma Chi.  Given that it was leaning significantly toward our house and that ash trees everywhere have been plagued by the Emerald Ash Borer insect, it was only a matter of time before this tree gave us problems.  We had Cox’s Tree Service perform the work: they did extensive work for us in 2011, were $500 cheaper than other quotes, and could do the work a month sooner than other companies.  Sigma Chi is splitting the $2,000 cost of this project and, like Cox’s Tree Service, has been responsive and easy to work with. 

The second large project is replacing all wood flooring on the main level of the house.  The current flooring is original to the house and has been in rough shape for years.  We evaluated many flooring options but only a few met our durability requirements.  Wood-look porcelain tile, which is quite popular now, was strongly considered but ultimately we felt it wouldn’t be consistent with the historic nature of the rest of the house.  We’ve decided to use a traditional oak flooring and seal it with a commercial grade epoxy coating made for demanding environments.  The scope of the project also includes replacing the subfloor and the stair treads.  Piedmont Facilities Management, our maintenance partner and the sister company of RE Lee who performed all the remodel/expansion work, will perform the work in the summer of 2019.  Their quote of approximately $20,000 – $25,000 (accounting for contingency) is significantly less expensive than other quotes we received.

Finally, there have been numerous smaller projects throughout 2018: two medium sized trees were removed from the front yard before they grew too large to be removed easily.  Normal exterior maintenance like planting grass seed, hedge and tree pruning, painting trim and pressure washing have all been completed.  On the inside of the house we’ve painted the Willie Alexander room, living room, foyer, and stairwell.

As always, we rely on your generosity in order to fund these projects and hope that you can come back to our Reunion and Homecoming events in order enjoy the updates we’re making to 600 Preston Place.

Chris Winter ’07