Great planning and great partners can mean that the additions made to your chapter house can look like they were always built that way!

While brand-new buildings are wonderful, we know it is expensive and time-consuming to create new chapter houses from the ground up, and sometimes building your next house from “scratch” is just not feasible.

Erin Rosas and Shawn Lorg from Krittenbrink Architecture in Norman, OK know about these building-from-scratch challenges, which is why their topic at this year’s MJ Forum Conference was about Phased Construction.

In case you missed their talk, here are a few tips that we’ve learned that we consider “best practices” on the topic:

Make the Outside Entrance Attractive
Competing for pledges is hard work and having a good-looking sorority house exterior makes an important first impression on new recruits. If you are planning a phased construction project and your outside needs some tender loving care, consider making the exterior renovation #1 on your list.

Baths vs. Living Spaces
What’s the next most important consideration for timing for the renovation? We find that it’s a “toss-up” between bathroom renovations and downstairs living and entry areas. Women who visit your houses want to see both areas. Can they envision themselves living in your house and enjoying these spaces?

Bedrooms as a Fundraising Strategy?
Bedrooms often become tired-looking (no pun intended!) and worn. When you get to this part of your wish list, ask your architect to maximize the benefits they can gain from designing these rooms with Educational Tax Deductions in mind. The more study space that’s officially designated, the more square- feet are considered in this fundraising strategy.

Multi-Use Spaces
Just like we see in individual family’s residences, designing for large common space for flexible use is popular and practical.

Name Your Dreams
When you are planning your multi-phased approach, tell you architect your hopes and desires and everything you could possibly envision wanting in the house for at least the next 10 years. One recent project Krittenbrink completed was 10 years long in 4 big phases, and there is still more work that may be done in the future!

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Ask for the moon and then work on a good place to begin with your Phase I. A great architect will want to make as many of your dreams as possible a reality, and they DEFINITELY do not want to have to re-do or tear out work whose construction order was poorly planned because of miscommunication. So, make your wish list and then communicate well with your building partners to come to the balance point between your ideal wish list and “what needs to happen when.”

** Great planning and great partners can mean that the additions made to your chapter house can look like they were always built that way!