Fraternity turned old hospital into a residence

Published 7:47 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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For $35 per month, where could a University student find a place to live that offers:  All utilities paid.  A private furnished bedroom, the use of a formal living room, recreation room, library, study, laundry room and lunch room?

There just aren’t places like this, so members of the Theta Chi fraternity decided to make one for their own private use.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

They discovered that, on the corner of a street, three blocks from downtown Troy sat a structure seemingly designed for just the purpose…and it was empty.

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To make things even better, the building belonged to Troy State University.

After arranging all the details, the young men got the go ahead from University officials, agreed to pay a monthly rental fee and proceeded with plans to convert the building into living quarters.

Since 1920, the building, Beard Hospital, had housed many a person, but for medical treatment.  The halls that echoed hurrying footsteps of doctors and nurses, sounds of happiness and despair, now ring out with different ones.

There’s the ‘slap, slap’ of wet paint brushes, hammering, doors slamming, and over the hub-dub, student’s voices shouting up and down the corridors.

The fraternity made an extensive study of the building, laid out floor plans, designating areas for certain uses.

Beginning with the oldest fraternity member, living areas were chosen, and each student is decorating his room according to individual taste.  Some of the more ambitious young men have already completed painting their rooms, hung curtains, pictures and are ‘at home.’

Using imagination, some of the students have more than just a bedroom.  Utilizing large broom closets, and other adjoining storage areas by turning them into study areas or sitting rooms.

At present the oldest ranking fraternity member, Bruce Neal, is acting as house mother, until one can be secured for the job.  Neal’s living quarters, later to be turned over to the house mother, consists of an office, (located in the same place as when it was a hospital), sitting room, private bath and bedroom.

The formal sitting room is the old waiting room, newly painted and redecorated, in the room where once laboratory tests were performed, the students are busy installing a library, which will be operated on the trust system.

When the hospital was deeded to the University, all furniture and some equipment was included, and left behind.

Fraternity members are utilizing practically everything.

“The hospital beds are just great,” stated Neal, on tour of the premises.  “Now everyone has a bed that will adjust to their own comfort for sleeping.”

Another ‘extra’ are the outlets and antennae connections for television in each room, allowing every student to bring in a TV if desired.

The fraternity has strict house rules which must be observed, and will be enforced by the house mother.  There will be guest room for visitors and plans are being discussed for outside recreational facilities in  the huge parking are.

After the gallons and gallons of paint are spread on the walls and everything is in order, there will be an open house.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.