Evanston Preservation Commission green-lights construction on Northwestern sorority quad

Carlos Ruiz, Evanston preservation coordinator, speaks Tuesday at a meeting of the city's preservation commission. The commission unanimously improved Northwestern plans to combine Phi Mu Alpha and Hobart House into one building.

Tanner Maxwell/Daily Senior Staffer

Carlos Ruiz, Evanston preservation coordinator, speaks Tuesday at a meeting of the city's preservation commission. The commission unanimously improved Northwestern plans to combine Phi Mu Alpha and Hobart House into one building.

Tanner Maxwell, Reporter

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Evanston’s Preservation Commission unanimously accepted Tuesday a Northwestern proposal to do minor construction in the sorority quads.

The commission reviewed plans to combine the buildings for Hobart House, the all-women’s residential college, and Phi Mu Alpha fraternity during a meeting at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center.

The University plans to create a single entrance for both buildings and remove the alley between them, said Dennis Langley, an architect representing the University. He showed the commission blueprints and mockups of the proposed building changes, which will address safety concerns and centralize building utilities. The ground floor will be renovated to include more wheelchair accessibility, Langley said.

The biggest changes include an arch and stone roof for the combined entrance and moving stone-arched windows from the sides of the buildings to the campus-facing facade. Langley said many of the changes will repurpose existing structures and materials, including stones for the arch and glass windows.

Northwestern sent the proposal to the Preservation Commission because the University completed construction of these buildings in the 1920s. NU has faced commission opposition to some of its construction projects, most recently with the new visitors center.

This time, commission member Jack Weiss carried the motion to accept the proposal, and all members voted in favor.

Langley said approval from the commission was one of the last hurdles prior to construction. Once NU receives a city building permit, construction will begin in June after students leave for summer vacation, he said.

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