Nabor house being rebuilt for fall semester

It may not seem logical to hang the number four on a door in a three-bedroom apartment, but John Lock, 2011 University alumnus and Nabor house fraternity board member, plans to proudly display this remnant of his Nabor house bedroom in his new place. The small keepsake will remind him of the time he spent in the old white home that was demolished earlier this summer.

According to Lock, the agricultural fraternity house on Lincoln Avenue held around 30-40 members each year, and the wear and tear on the house was evident. On the second floor, he said, there was even a hallway with curved flooring.

“You couldn’t roll a ball down the hallway without it hitting into the wall,” he laughed.

For the past seven or eight years, the fraternity board has been working to get plans approved, but the funds for $2 million construction costs were raised in less than a year by an alumni base of about 500.

“The fact that we could do that was … I couldn’t believe it,” Lock said. “Our alumni were really generous.”

Part of the fundraising effort was an initiative called “Building with Bushels,” said Jeff Ray, vice president of the Nabor house fraternity board. Keeping with their agricultural tradition, Nabor house accepted livestock or grain donations and sold them, putting the profits toward the new house. Ray said that a significant amount of money was raised through this effort, the brainchild of Bob Stewart, Nabor house fraternity president.

The demolition began May 17, according to the project website, “BuildNaborHouse.com.” The building company, Homeway Homes, constructed the house off-site in 19 pieces and the project is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 15, Lock said. Until the house is ready for members to move in, the plan is in motion for members to live in Illini Towers.

Though nothing has been signed yet, Lock said that the fraternity will pay to house as many of the 36 members as it can afford in IT.

Figuring out where to house members until the project’s completion is only one of the many details that had to be worked out in the expensive project. The board members are volunteers but have been putting in countless hours to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“That’s one of the founding spirits of Nabor House: to work, work hard and work together and so we’ve definitely been doing that through this project,” Ray said.

Lock said that members and alumni look forward to having a spacious new facility where members can live comfortably, alumni can attend annual meetings and potential high school recruits can visit. They anticipate that the new house will be helpful in this fall’s recruitment.

Nabor House is not the only fraternity undergoing changes this summer. Ashley Dye, director of fraternity and sorority affairs, said that Acacia will be making renovations to the former Phi Mu sorority house before calling it their home in the fall.

Their crest and fraternity name are already boldly on display against the white brick exterior of the house.

Sigma Kappa sorority also will have a new a ramp on the west side of their house when members return in the fall. Funded by Sigma Kappa’s finance corporation funds, the ramp is part of a Sigma Kappa initiative to ensure that they include everyone, including a current member who uses a wheelchair, said Doris Liestman, Sigma Kappa’s property manager.

“We felt like we wanted our house to be accessible to everyone — both members and grandparents and family that come to our house in wheelchairs,” she said. “And we want everybody to be able to enter and partake.”

The project began July 18 and is scheduled to be complete in early August, Liestman said.