The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Chi Omega unveils new home

The new Chi Omega house opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and donor party. (Courtesy of Christina Cox)

With speeches, warm greetings, refreshments and ribbon cutting, the Iota Alpha Chapter of Chi Omega opened the doors to its new home Friday.

“We feel like we’ve added another beautiful building to the already beautiful buildings on SMU’s campus,” Housing Committee Chair Paula Whisenant said.

The nearly $6.5 million house provides not only a larger meeting space for the Chi Omega chapter, but also an upgraded living area.

“We built things in the house that we thought a modern sorority women would need and want,” Whisenant said.

These new additions include study areas on each floor and in each room, tutorial areas with couches, a life enrichment room, a library and a new security system.

Forty women of the chapter will reside in the new house. According to Whisenant, the girls select their rooms by using a point system based on grades and campus and chapter involvement.

“There’s a lot more space for communal living so girls that don’t necessarily live in the house can also come and visit,” junior and resident Lindsey Cianciotta said.

The exterior of the house was built in the Georgian-style architecture seen throughout SMU’s campus.

“I am just absolutely blown away by how beautiful it is. I knew it was going to be nice and new but I had absolutely no idea,” junior and resident Emily Towler said.

The house is also equipped with a safe room, which will protect the women from both a tornado and an intruder.

“The walls are double blocked, the doors are tornado doors and the roof is also made of tornado-proof steel,” Whisenant said. “It cost us extra money but it was worth it because we felt like it would add an extra safety measure.”

The Chi Omegas also worked to make their new home environmentally friendly by constructing the house with “green” elements like LED and compact fluorescent lights and tankless water heaters.

Spring Valley Construction Company handled the construction of the building and Seltzer Associates designed the new home.

“When I saw the drawings of this home I was delighted because I knew it would be a wonderful addition for the Chi Omegas and a wonderful addition for SMU,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said.

Planning began in June 2011 with the creation of a formal housing committee composed of Chi Omegas that graduated from SMU or lived in the Dallas area.

“It became real apparent to those of us that are advisors on the HAC that our house was past our time,” Whisenant said.

The original Chi Omega house was built in 1951 when the chapter consisted of only 40 members. Now, that number has grown to almost 160.

“The fire marshal said in an inspection said that we could no longer hold homecoming parties or senior graduation parties because the house was too small to hold all the girls there,” Whisenant said.

This news spearheaded the campaign to move from 3014 Daniel Ave. to 3024 Daniel Ave, the location of the Faculty Club.

“We negotiated with SMU and they decided it was a great move for both of us. SMU took over our house and we made an exchange of locations,” Whisenant said.

Now, 3014 Daniel Ave. is being used as the temporary location for the SMU Health Center.

The Chi Omegas are happy with the arrangement.

“I’m just so excited to live here and make this place home,” Towler said.

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