At the Delta Upsilon fraternity house groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, alumni, current brothers and community dignitaries witnessed the final stage of a collaborative effort to secure a new house for the fraternity.
"It's been a long time coming for us," Chapter President Ryan Cunningham said. "It's finally time to see all that hard work pay off."
Steady rainfall accompanied showers of thanks and commendations for many parties' efforts, which involved a series of real estate transactions between associates of the Delta Upsilon and Beta Theta Pi fraternities.
Delta Upsilon first moved to the Beta Theta Pi house on Rugby Road in 1973. More than three decades later, Beta Theta Pi finally will reclaim its original house, while Delta Upsilon will inhabit the University's first new fraternity building in 50 years.
Last spring, Beta Theta Pi alumni sold the fraternity's house on Maury Avenue to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and used that money to buy the Madison Lane Apartment complex. They then tore down the apartments and sold the land to Delta Upsilon in exchange for the fraternity's former property on Rugby Road.
"It was a complicated real estate transaction but ... we all are now going to get what we really want," Beta Theta Pi alumnus Timothy Akers said. "We always wanted to be back at that location [by Beta Bridge] and now we'll be able to renovate it. [Delta Upsilon brothers] are getting a brand new house that's going to be completely up to date."
In his address to a crowd of about 30 people, Akers commented on the strengthened relations between the two fraternities.
"After any number of conversations, friendly and heated, we ended up striking not only a bargain but a friendship," he said.
Leonard Sandridge, University executive vice president and chief operating officer, attended the groundbreaking ceremony and offered his congratulations.
"We're proud of what you've accomplished and we're glad that you're going to be close neighbors and we're glad that you made it possible for the Betas to get back on Grounds too," he said.
Other speakers touched on additional benefits of the new house. Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris said he is pleased that the residence includes energy-efficient, environmentally friendly features, and Cunningham also noted that the new house gives Delta Upsilon something to "brag about a little bit" during the fraternity rush cycle.
"This is exactly the kind of project that we like to see going on in the University community," Sandridge said. "While we're celebrating this site and this building, it's really what goes on in that building that makes a difference - that is, building men and preserving the values that this University instills in its students"