Demolition of Delta Tau Delta fraternity house approved by Ames City Council


Korrie Bysted/Iowa State Daily

Kelly Diekmann, director of planning and housing for Ames, speaks to the City Council about demolition of the current Delta Tau Delta chapter facility on Feb. 25.

Emelie Knobloch

The city council passed a resolution last evening approving the demolition of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity residence.

“You have a demolition request in front of you,” said Kelly Diekmann, director of planning and housing for the city of Ames. “They have done a few additions over the years, and they don’t believe they can work with the house anymore.”

The house was built in 1953. There was an addition to the house in 1975 as well as remodels in 1990 and 1996.

“This all comes down to financial feasibility,” Diekmann said. “The remodel and the rebuild are roughly the same price.”

The council action form stated that the applicant was making the case that the current building does not meet the needs of current students.

Diekmann said the price to rehabilitate the house is approximately $4.4 million while the price to rebuild the house is approximately $5 million.

The property currently houses 56 men. There are 22 parking spots currently available to the house.

“The city staff support the demolition of the house,” Diekmann said. “The rebuild would be comparable to other fraternity buildings.”

The council action form also stated that the applicant was making the case that it is more economically feasible to build a new greek house than to renovate the current house to meet these needs.

The new house would hold 65 beds. Parking would not be impacted by the rebuild.

“Was there any historic evaluation for the home since it is over 50 years old?” Councilwoman Gloria Betcher asked.

Diekmann said that the city had not requested that information, therefore a historical evaluation had not been done.

“I think it is wise to be asking if the house has historical value before deciding to demolish it,” Betcher said. “Unfortunately, that has not been part of our thought process.”

Charles Stauffer, the landlord of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, was present to speak on the fraternity’s behalf.

“If we were to modify the rooms in the 1953 addition, we would cut the capacity of the house,” Stauffer said. “There is no place for us to go for an addition.”

Stauffer said the fraternity has remodeled and made rooms bigger in the past, but the only thing the fraternity could do now is remodel a part of the already remodeled area.

“I don’t understand how this can be economic hardship if you are putting up a building that would cost more than the rehabilitation and there are more students now,” Betcher said.

Diekmann said the new house would be a better use of the property located at this site than a small building’s rehabilitation.

“It’s not just economics, it is also reasonable use,” Diekmann said.

Delta Tau Delta fraternity is located north of Buchanan Hall between Sunset Avenue and Gable Lane.