A campaign to renovate the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house at Georgia Tech was so successful last year that plans have been altered to build the fraternity a new house instead of fixing up the old one.
The current house, which has stood at the corner of Techwood Drive and Bobby Dodd Way for more than 60 years, will be demolished next summer so construction can begin on a new building.
“With a whole new house we can really give the undergrads what they need for a 21st century college experience,” said Brian Banner, a 1992 AEPi alumnus overseeing the steering committee on the project. “If we had only renovated the old house, it was going to be difficult to meet the new building codes and also give them all the features and amenities that college students need. Now we get to start with a blank slate and put in everything that is needed.”
The campaign has raised $1.3 million toward a new center for Jewish Greek life at Georgia Tech. Banner said the project will start next summer regardless but the group is trying to secure an additional $400,000 to ensure that all the features of the current design are included.
Those interested in contributing to the new AEPi house can visit www.aepi.org/foundation/donate-now and select “Zeta Housing Support Fund” in the drop down box.
The newly planned house will include upgraded amenities such as a 20 percent increase in average student room size, a modern kitchen with dining capacity for 80, and meeting rooms that will be shared with Hillel and other Jewish campus organizations for Georgia Tech’s 900 Jewish students.
The building will be able to house 40 AEPi members.
Warren Epstein, a 1956 Tech AEPi alumnus, and his architectural firm, Warren Epstein & Associates, have been hired as the architects for the project. Epstein lives in Atlanta and has overseen the building of AEPi chapter houses at Indiana and Purdue along with house renovations at Georgia Tech and Emory.
“The architecture of the new house is going to help us stand out and really raise the profile of the fraternity,” Banner said. “Just like the old house was unlike any other house on campus, this house is going to have its own character.”
The location of the fraternity, directly across from Bobby Dodd Stadium, makes it one of the most heavily trafficked plots on campus by both students and alumni.
Because of the prominent location, Banner said, AEPi International has committed to financing a new house in order to better support the mission of providing a Jewish experience for college students and future Jewish leaders. The location of the house makes it one of the most prominent and visible AEPi houses in the entire country.
“In the fall thousands of people walk by the house every Saturday,” fundraising campaign chairman Stephen Raidbard said. “The nature of the world today seems to be that there are more and more critics of Judaism and Israel. There’s always an Israeli flag flying at AEPi.”