The residents of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house plan to begin moving brothers back into the house later this month after being displaced when the house’s roof was deemed a danger after last week’s historic snowstorm, the fraternity’s president said Monday.
The four residents of the house were relocated to Guthridge Hall when one resident noticed part of the roof collapsing. After the house was first declared unstable by the Metropolitan Police Department, TKE hired contractors to remove the piles of snow that accumulated on the roof from the storm.
“The weight of the snow was the main cause for the damage sustained,” TKE President Michael Donaldson said in an e-mail. “The roof itself was not damaged; however one of the beams in the house suffered some damage.”
Donaldson said the fraternity is currently in the process of repairing the damage and taking precautions to assure the safety of students who will move back into the house.
“Once we cleared the snow from the roof we had a structural engineer come to the house to gather information on the damage done and steps that needed to be taken to ensure… stability,” Donaldson said. “The engineer has deemed the house structurally sound; but has made some suggestion as to what needs to be done to repair the cracked beam so that the tenants can move back into their rooms.”
Although it was the roof that threatened the residents’ safety, Donaldson said the house underwent further inspection to ensure the rest of the house was not in danger.
“We’ve spoken with the D.C. Fire Department and explained to them our actions,” he said. “No official government notices were given deeming the house unlivable; however warnings were issued as to the safety of remaining in the house.”
TKE hopes to begin repairs this week.
Although the TKE house is not part of University housing, the University offered alternative housing to the students displaced by the roof’s potential cave-in.
“It has been truly helpful and the guys staying in Guthridge have had good living conditions and are in good spirits,” Donaldson said of the temporary housing alternative. “The displacement of TKE brothers has been unfortunate but GW housing has helped us out a lot.”
Despite the displacement, Donaldson said not much has changed socially for TKE.
“Chapter operations have only been slightly affected by displacement. Most operations are still in effect,” he said. “The most important aspect of our social scene is the friendships amongst brothers; something that hasn’t been affected.”