2013 House Renovation Updates
This past year has been an exciting time for physical improvements to the Lodge. The first project was started in the summer with the commissioning of new stair treads and landings. The new stairs were installed in September just in time for the Homecoming celebrations. The stairs are now dark navy with gray landings. In addition, replacement spindles were ordered to fix the missing and broken spindles, and are now installed—completing the staircase renovation.
The next project to be tackled was in regards to landscaping of the backyard. A decade of overgrown trees were cleaned up and replaced by arborvitae shrubs, with the hope of giving our house a cleaner exterior while maintaining some privacy. Upon the completion of this project, our attention was turned to some of the aging furniture in the Borthwick Room. Three new leather sofas were purchased to replace the broken and torn sofas.
Looking to the future, we are planning to order new curtains to hang in the dining room, Grasselli Room, foyer, library, and Borthwick Room. These curtains will likely be navy blue to match the new staircase, as well as being fireproof in order to comply with the City of Ithaca's requirements. As my time as VP house manager comes to a close, I am confident our next house manager will continue these improvements and help maintain the beauty of our chapter house.
Conor Henry O'Gorman '13
2011 House Renovation Updates
Due in part to a substantial number of brothers remaining in Ithaca over the summer, and an incentivized room-improvement plan, one finds the “Grey Stone Castle” looking quite different this winter compared to what it was when the snow thawed this past April. We have repainted 11 bedrooms, carpeted four of the third-floor rooms, refinished one wood floor, and repaired or replaced multiple light fixtures. On the second floor, the social rooms—assigned to select brothers and used as lounges, sitting rooms, or small theaters—have received new couches and stereo systems since the previous edition of the Delta Chi Deke.
The most substantial recent improvement to the Lodge is the third-floor bathroom. Over the summer, a major structural remodeling was undertaken, involving replacing beams and leveling the floor, replacing the counters with Corian, and new plumbing in four sinks. Most importantly, the leaking tile floor in the shower and bathroom were replaced with Stonhard—a heavy duty resinous floor—which should stand the rigorous test of time in a house of 60 men.
Other notable improvements from this past spring and summer include the pantry on the first floor, which features a new refrigerator and a now fully functional ice machine; the first-floor and basement bathrooms, both of which have received new vanities and paint; and the coat room, which received new flooring.
As is always the case at the Deke house, there is more work to be done. However, with the cooperation of the new head of OFSA facilities management, Tim Anderson—taking his permanent place in Willard Strait; the advice of Lin Davidson ’71; and with the strength of 60 or more gentlemen, scholars, and jolly- good fellows, we will continue to improve and strengthen the place we all call home.
Looking forward, we have multiple small- scale projects in store for the semester, but, on a larger scale, we will be looking to replace the aging and—in some places—peeling, grey linoleum tiles in the entryway and foyer, as well as converting the “bike room” behind the kitchen into functional dry storage for the kitchen and banquet events.
Chris Leyen '13
Ithaca Recognizes the DKE Lodge As Historic Landmark
As many of our alumni are aware, the Ithaca Common Council unanimously voted in 2003 to designate the Gray Stone Castle, home to our organization, as a historic landmark in the city of Ithaca.
An initiative of Ithaca citizens, this designation was in addition to the registration of the lodge on the New York State and National Registers of historic structures, an initiative of our alumni historian, Bill Fogle '70. The historic designation was supported by hundreds of Dekes, Cornellians, and others from across the nation who recognized the historic merit of our home on the Cornell campus, designed by William Henry Miller, Cornell's first graduate architect.
Visit the Lodge
The DKE Chapter House, known as the "Gray Stone Castle," is where our undergraduate brotherhood lives, studies and engages in social activities. Located on the Cornell campus at 13 South Avenue, it is also a Victorian masterpiece to which our brothers and alumni have been dedicating their time and resources to restore the house to its original beauty.
We would like to extend to all a welcome to visit our Lodge, whether visitors, returning alumni, or merely those interested in a remarkable historical site. Our undergraduate brothers would welcome the opportunity to give you a tour and answer questions about the Lodge, its history, and our restoration efforts.
As it is a private home for the brothers, we would only ask that you call in advance to arrange a time for our brothers to give your a tour. The process is simple: merely call the Lodge hotline (607) 275-3353 [DEKE] and leave a message. Our House Alumni Chairman or another member of our Executive Committee will return your call to confirm the date and time of your visit. We want to roll out the welcome mat for you and share with you our rich heritage.
To Halt The Proposed Garage, Your Support Is Still Needed
Cornell University still is seeking to build a massive and controversial garage, but is encountering stiff resistance from the Ithaca community and Cornellians.
Last spring, the Ithaca Planning Board voted down a companion parking space adjacent to West Campus, and the university sued the board in the County Supreme Court. While they won that action and the city failed to appeal, the affected citizens have filed their own action to set aside the judgment and uphold the board’s veto. In addition, the Landmark Commission refused to grant the necessary certificate to allow the project to move forward.
We will continue to respectfully oppose this vastly misguided project should the university move forward. At the moment they are keeping the project dormant until they "win" the West Campus parking dispute. It appears that they may still lose. We are undertaking a number of initiatives to clearly demonstrate that the garage project does not comport with New York State law and that other areas close to Collegetown are more appropriate venues for such a massive garage. Return to this page to learn the latest on our initiatives and how you can help by communicating with key University officials.
Check this space often for updated information.
Architect's rendering of the university's proposed garage.