Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Mouse in the House

Ever since the south addition was sealed off so that work can continue while students occupy the house, I haven't had much opportunity to explore the new space. So after hours, I snuck into the construction zone to poke around. I was surprised to find a first coat of primer on the third floor and complete drywall on the second & first floors. Wow! Things are really moving along.

Additional cold dorm (third floor).

The extra cold dorm space will allow the house to sleep about 90 students.

New chapter room - drywall is up!

New student room on the second floor.

Another student room on the second floor.

I've steered clear of the personal on this page, but I have to say that tensions were running high today in the house. As anyone who's ever had construction done in their home knows, there is almost no way that construction can happen in an occupied space without disruption. Add to that the size of this house and size of the project, and the disruption is unavoidable. By the end of the day, things had simmered down (and thankfully, the only people who seemed unfazed were the students). But in the midst of the day's stress, the only thing that broke the tension was the arrival of an unexpected visitor.

While standing in the hallway, my eyes puffy from stress and frustration-induced tears (truly unusual for me), I heard "Rose, I hate to tell you this, but there's a mouse in the basement and it's really big!" What could I do but laugh? Of course there's a mouse in the basement today. Normally, a mouse downstairs wouldn't be such a big deal, but since students are temporarily occupying the space, the mouse problem became a little more pressing than usual. A call to the exterminator revealed that he was unable to make it out until tomorrow, so I went hunting myself. What's a house mom to do?! The girls must be saved!

Sure enough, little Banta (I named to make him seem a little less scary... not to the students, but to me) was found frolicking between the old and new laundry rooms. He is big - sort of cute and fluffy, too - but also quick and evasive. My attempts to trap him under a bucket were no good, and before I knew it he had run into a student's room. Now, he's nowhere to be found. I've put out traps laced with peanut butter (not something I've ever had to do before), but secretly I hope he's made his way back into the construction zone before he meets his untimely end in the laundry room. I mean, I certainly don't want to be responsible for the death of George Banta.

Ah, the life of a DG house mom.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fine Dining

Today was an exciting day because, in the midst of continuing work on the south addition, new dining room furniture was delivered. It has been hard to envision the room being used as a dining room without the furniture, but seeing the tables and chairs in the space really brought it home. I can't wait for the house to host a special dinner!

Absolutely gorgeous!

The dining room will seat 88, with space for more if needed.

Well this should be fun!

DGs (and a DG waiter/houseboy) enjoying the new space.

New brick on the south addition. The east side of the building is already complete, and you can see the progress on the south side in this picture.

Remember the miracle grass from last week? Sure enough, we had grass by Saturday and even more today!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

All Hands on Deck

Like every year, move-in day came and went with a flurry of activity! The halls were filled with the usual excitement about living in the House (for most students, it's for the first time) and reuniting with friends not seen since the spring. This year, it was especially exciting to come home to a newly-renovated chapter house!

Admittedly, the day didn't go by without a little anxiety about whether everyone would fit! Thanks to a last-minute, Friday afternoon delivery from John Kirk Furniture Galleries, there are exactly enough beds and, thanks to a quick search of the attics, exactly enough dressers for everyone. Closets are another story... but in the true spirit of sisterhood, the DGs are sharing what they have to make it work for everyone. The Alpha Tau DGs will be a little smushed in for the first weeks of school, but in the end, there will be more than enough space for everyone!

Showing off the temporary closet. DGs make it work!

Happy mover. :)

Temporary living quarters in the old chapter room. This would be a good example of the "smushed in" part. DGs are so resourceful!

Making it fit! These dressers hold a surprising volume of clothes.

Neatly made beds in the cold dorm. How novel!

Sleep tight, DG!

Getting settled into the cold dorm.

Setting up Upper Deck.


Assembling a futon is definitely a multiple person job.

A table and chairs? WOW! Way to be creative with the space, gals!

Getting organized.

Taking a quick picture break.

Isn't living in the house fun?!

Unpacking. It'll fit!

Making it look easy.

A special thanks to Kelsey for being the official move-in day photographer while I sat at the registration table handing out keys.

The Mad Rush to the End

Whoa, folks. The last week has been a C-R-A-Z-Y rush to get everything put back together (as much as possible!) before move-in. Construction personnel worked late Thursday and Friday to take care of the last major projects in the existing house.

The south addition is still about 8-9 weeks from completion, but the existing house is finished (save a few minor details) and livable! For now, the south addition will be sealed off so that work can continue during the semester. Here are a few quick pictures from the last few days (sorry that I haven't had time to take many):

Scaffolding around the south addition - will be used by brick layers.

Partially-installed shelving (the support braces) for new computer/study space. This used to be the chapter room!

The formal, in the process of being reassembled. Yes, the furniture has been cleaned since this was taken!

New furniture placement in the card room. Again, we've done some dusting since then. :)

Unpacking the library.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First You Must Find... Another Shrubbery!

Today, lots of work was done on the exterior to clean up the grounds. Our regular lawn care service, Wood Lawn, did an awesome job with mulch and flowers in the front. They even put all the stepping stones back in place (why they were moved in the first place, I have no idea... but at this point I've learned that, when it comes to construction mess, I should stop looking for logic where there isn't any!).

New mulch & trimmed shrubbery

Welcome Home!

The landscaping subcontractor for the expansion (I don't know the name at this time, but I'll post it when I find out) has also been working this week to plant shrubs, reseed the grass, and add trees throughout the property, mostly on the south and east sides.

New bushes planted near the new southeast patio.

Reseeded lawn outside dining room. Apparently this is some sort of miracle grass that will start growing in just a few days. I can't wait to see if it happens.

Not the best picture, but sections of the hedges surrounding the parking lot were removed to plant new trees. It was required by the city, but will add a nice variation and, eventually, some shade.

(Please excuse the Monty Python... I couldn't help myself.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Don't Know the Square Footage, But...

...the bottom line is that the DG house at Butler is huge. Here are some exterior pictures taken in the last few days. The guys at Meyer Najem are pushing to get the site cleaned up as much as possible before move-in day next Friday! Work will continue in the south addition after school starts, but things are looking good for total completion of the existing house before the students move in.

Yeah, it's big.

Glass will close the gap between the old and new.

A new (much-needed) sidewalk on Crown Street (on the west side of the property).

Larger parking lot (the other half will still be used for construction materials, dumpster, etc, through November).

View of southeast corner.

Dining room (the decking up top is still being completed and the arches above the windows are being reworked).

Back patio & ramp.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moving Day

Yesterday was moving day - all the furniture (dressers, beds, and formal, library, & card room furniture) was moved back into the house. The house is a disaster, but we'll have it back together by the time school starts. In the end, it was a fun-filled day of rearranging furniture with house corporation board member, Michelle.

It was so much easier when everything was going OUT of the house....

I haven't posted many pictures lately, so here are few of the progress on the interior.

Bright, shiny and, new... the cold dorm is finished!


First floor bathroom (now a full bath)

Kitchenette cabinets

More kitchenette cabinets and sink

Basement foyer bathroom