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A New House for Generations


The women of Chi Omega sorority at Mizzou moved into their new home for the next 100 years. MW Builders finished the house on time, perfect for enjoying the fall semester on campus. 

The Chi Omega Rho Alpha Chapter at the University of Missouri in Columbia was faced with a big decision: Make the expensive code-required updates to an aging house or tear it down and build a new one. 

After running all the numbers and considering the future of the chapter, it just made sense. A new house would not only be safer, but it would solidify the position of the chapter – one of the most prestigious at Mizzou – as the place to be. Chapter leaders, alumni, and current sorority members ultimately decided to embark on the ambitious plan. 

Money was raised, loans were secured, and ground was broken. As president and board member of the chapter corporation, Abbie O’Sullivan agreed to take on the job of construction project manager. Fellow board member Libby Lawson agreed to assist. 

O’Sullivan’s day job is manager of user services in the IT department at the University of Missouri. And Lawson works in her husband’s endodontics practice as an administrator. Both had experience in managing the construction of custom homes for their families, but commercial construction of this magnitude was a whole new test.

The Chi Omega board chose MW Builders as the contractor for the project. For O’Sullivan and Lawson it was important for them to work with experienced construction professionals.

“The people at MW Builders were amazing,” said O’Sullivan. “They were great advisors and they helped us understand all the important stages and what to expect in terms of schedules, progress, and costs.”

Designed for Comfort, Built to Last

Construction on the new 33,600 sq. ft., $3.5 million facility took exactly one year, as planned, lasting from June 2012 to June 2013. 

The new house not only increased capacity to now accommodate 93 sorority members, but the communal areas were greatly enhanced in the new design. The chapter room was made larger, a project room was added, a 16-space basement garage was included, and a sunbathing balcony was integrated into the third floor.

As with any commercial housing, decisions had to be made to maximize value and durability. MW Builders has worked on dozens of higher education student housing projects around the country and could share experiences and knowledge. Steve Parkman served as project superintendent and Eric Bebermeyer was project manager.

“It was clear from the beginning that MW Builders had a lot of experience in student housing, especially sorority and fraternity houses,” said O’Sullivan.

“They explained things carefully and took the long view, anticipating future needs and uses, and how to build for those.”

Knowing where to trim costs and where to increase costs was very valuable to Lawson as well. 

“If materials or designs were not ideal for the environment, Eric and Steve would tell us,” said Lawson. “We wanted to do it right the first time and make it last. They were always looking out for our best interests.” 

Punch lists were completed, finishing touches were applied, and the women of Chi Omega were able to start a new academic year – a new era – in their new house that will serve the sorority for many generations. 

“Like any project of this size and scope, it was a big challenge,” said Lawson. “We’re proud of our alumni, board and entire chapter, and we’re grateful to MW Buildersfor helping us meet this challenge and succeed.”