Sigma Chi will break ground Thursday on a new fraternity house on WSU Pullman’s Greek Row.
The $5.5 million project marks the fraternity’s 100th anniversary at WSU. It’s also “a clear signal of the strength and health of the WSU Greek system, one of the best in the west,” said Jeff Burnside, Centennial Chapter House project director.
The new house’s white‑pillared design echoes the fraternity’s longtime chapter house, which fell into disrepair and was torn down in 2003. Since then, fraternity members have lived in a smaller building on the property at 720 N.E. California Street.
“We tried to make it similar to our old house in large part because there’s so much nostalgia and emotional connection to it,” said Burnside, who attended WSU from 1975–79 and lived in the old house.
Dan Welter, associate dean of students at the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the construction project is also notable because Sigma Chi will be fully ADA accessible.
“This shows continued investment in the Greek community,” he added, noting major, multimillion‑dollar renovation projects at the Delta Gamma sorority and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity in recent years.
More than 450 donors gave nearly $2 million toward the $5.5 million construction project. The rest was financed through STCU, a Spokane‑based credit union.
Burnside said new construction of fraternity and sorority houses is such an uncommon occurrence that it was challenging to interest a lender in the project. Now that Sigma Chi has done so, the chapter hopes it will pave the way for more projects in the future.
Construction will begin on June 20, and the house is expected to open next summer.
The project was designed by Pullman‑based Design West, and will be built by Ginno Construction of Coeur d’Alene. The structural engineer is PCS Structural Solutions.
The new house will have a wing of suites set aside for juniors and seniors, to encourage upperclassmen to stay and provide leadership, Burnside said.
There will also be a memorial to former Washington State College President Ernest O. Holland, who spearheaded the founding of the Sigma Chi chapter in Pullman in 1919.
The building’s most striking interior feature is a grand foyer with twin, curving staircases.
“It’ll be really spectacular,” Burnside said. “I can envision all of the house photos being taken there.”
If you go:
- What: Ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House
- When: Thursday, June 20, 3 p.m.
- Where: 720 NE California Street, Pullman