UNK fraternities have new home at renovated Martin Hall
KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Step inside the main entrance to Martin Hall and one of the first things you’ll notice is a cornerstone bearing the names of Herbert L. Cushing, the former president of the Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney, as well as members of the Board of Education of State Normal Schools.
That stone, placed in 1953 when the residence hall was under construction, is one of the few features that remained untouched during a major renovation that transformed the nearly 70-year-old building into a modern living and hangout space for University of Nebraska at Kearney fraternity members.
Following 18 months of work to upgrade and improve the 42,500-square-foot building, Martin Hall reopened in mid-January as the new home for Delta Tau Delta, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Tau Gamma.
Connor Morrison, a music education major from Shelby, was among the first students to move in. His initial reaction: “It’s really nice.”
“I’m pretty grateful for the new building,” said Morrison, a previous vice president who currently serves as the new member educator for Pi Kappa Alpha. “I’m thankful the university saw our potential and how much we do and gave us such a nice building.”
The UNK senior views the project as a long-term investment in Fraternity and Sorority Life and, hopefully, a recruiting tool that increases chapter membership and convinces more upperclassmen to live on campus.
“We notice a trend in fraternities, once a guy moves off campus, his involvement in the chapter goes down,” Morrison said.
With brand-new fixtures, flooring and furniture and amenities such as single-person restrooms and showers, Martin Hall will certainly be a selling point for fraternities.
Located just east of the Nebraskan Student Union in the northeast corner of campus, Martin Hall features dedicated housing pods for individual fraternities and flexible housing units designed to meet the chapters’ future needs. Each fraternity has its own chapter room and lounge, and there are shared study areas throughout the building. A “great room” on the main floor serves as an event space for the entire Fraternity and Sorority Life community.
UNK junior Grant Lindner, the secretary and house manager for Phi Delta Theta, believes the layout will bring the chapters closer together.
“It’s going to force us to get a lot closer,” he said. “Before, yes, we were in the same building, but we were also in our own areas. They didn’t have access to ours and we didn’t have access to theirs. In this new building, you’re going to see a lot more teamwork in the coming years, which is a huge positive in my book.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house are scheduled for 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Martin Hall. Campus officials will speak at 1 p.m., with tours offered until 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
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