“To be… or not to be?” During our 112 year history, the cry of “wolf” has been heard more than once. In February 1944, Brother Bob Sprenger ’44, newly installed charge president, spoke to the actives at 144 Langdon: “…the previous administration had to combat adversity …men were leaving the Charge in alarming numbers …fraternities were collapsing all around them …the real threat to the house – being taken over by the United States Army …the brilliance and foresight of the men at the helm paid its most invaluable dividends …if our owners could be convinced the Theta Delts could operate on a solvent basis, they would probably resist the Army’s proposal …(the owners took a chance on the actives.) …the final threat to existence averted, the boys dug in and began to rebuild the Charge that had shrunk from 55 in June to 15 in September. We have now only to cast our eyes about the room to witness their unbelievable accomplishments …”
Our 10,000 square foot fortress of fraternal life valued at $630,000 (building/land) is once again on the brink. The directors and officers of the Wisconsin Association of Theta Delta Chi and the small band of brothers calling themselves the Revitalization Group all agree that “wolf” is the appropriate cry. A bank will call in the line of credit mortgage when it reaches $200,000 on (approximately) September 1, 2009.
The Revitalization Group enlisted the consulting firm Fraternity Management Group of Tucson, Arizona to publish this brochure as part of a six month feasibility study to conclude in November 2007. The technical information concerning house rehabilitation costs was furnished by Strang, a Madison architectural firm in the “Existing Building Survey Report for Wisconsin Association of Theta Delta Chi,” July 28, 2006. Strang presented several alternatives to full rehabilitation, which ranged from doing nothing to demolishing and constructing a new house on-site for $2 million. In the end, their expertise, along with input from the Brotherhood, led to the full rehabilitation option presented here.
On April 18, 2006, Dan Brown ’91 signed a letter sent to 750 alumni that concluded, “Through bold action, in a previous time of trial, the renaissance of the 80’s and 90’s was sparked …(and the Brotherhood was preserved).” Since that “S.O.S.” letter 18 months ago, this Revitalization Group has labored steadfastly, month-by-month, to stabilize the house and set the stage for the issuance of this brochure. It has been assisted along the way by several anonymous alumni who have generously contributed funds for house improvements in the foyer, library (former dining room), and living room. They joined the ranks of those who have given over many years, all of whom The Old Lady profoundly thanks.
There are more important causes in the world than the rehabilitation of a fraternity house. Nevertheless, it is our house; we, the 750 members of the Wisconsin Association of Theta Delta Chi. Although the young men at 144 cannot cure AIDS, or feed the refugees, or talk terrorists into loving America, they can reside in a decent house while studying those problems so that, in the fullness of time, they may contribute to solving them. We know a few good men can work wonders!