Virtually all Pi Zetes spend a number of years living at 25 Belle Avenue in Troy.
- Address: 25 Belle Ave, Troy, NY 12180
- Neighborhood Type: Residential
- Purchased: 1951
- Number of Bedrooms: 21
Living in the chapter house not only provides one of the best living experiences there is for students at RPI, but it is also one of the most affordable options.
While in past years the house has accommodated as many as 50 brothers in its 21 spacious rooms, brothers today tend to prefer singles rather than sharing a room and as such, most brothers get their own room, with the occasional sophomore having to double up.
The cost for residents varies each semester based on the number of brothers that live in, with the costs going down as there are more brothers to share it. Even with only one brother per room, the typical costs to live in the house are similar in price to what you would have to pay for the cheapest dorms on campus, but does not include a meal plan or any of the other many benefits brothers receive by living in the chapter house.
Resident Benefits Include:
- Large room, typical a single
- All utilities, including TV and high-speed internet
- 15 meals per week
- Unlimited access pantry for snacks and food in between meals
- Social events
The chapter has owned this property since 1951 after purchasing it from Ms. Charles Crowley. It is comprised of two major parts: the first floor addition—known as the wing—and the three story main house. There have been a number of major renovations over the years, including:
- In 1951, the large basement was cleared and a bandstand was placed in the southeast corner, making a brick-lined Rathskeller effect.
- In 1954, the bandstand was moved to the west end, a permanent bar (at the time, the “longest on campus”) was built, and the basement walls were paneled with knotty pine.
- The kitchen was gradually raised to commercial standards including a large range and commercial fume/fire hood (more about this below).
- To increase sleeping capacity, the 12-room “wings” and a large bathroom were constructed in 1960. An off-street parking lot was added at the same time.
- The original second floor sitting room opening to the front balcony was closed off to form a library, also in 1960.
- The new kitchen marked off outside space for a wood deck built soon afterward.
- The large 1950s-style picture windows in the wing rooms were replaced by triple-paned units in the early 1980s
- The front steps and porch were replaced with newly-poured concrete in the mid-1980s
- The exterior brickwork, which characterizes the house, has been repointed in stages (first the main house, then the wings some years later)
- A new, expanded kitchen and dining room and second basement were constructed in 1988/1989 (click here for pictures of the construction).
- A new steam boiler was installed in 2002 to replace a failed old one. This boiler heats the living room and the main house bedrooms.
- New common-area carpets were laid in 2005, 2009 and 2013.
- New vinyl windows were installed on the third floor in 2010 and 2011.
- A new condensing hot water boiler and an indirectly fired hot water heater were installed in 2012, which have dramatically increased the efficiency of the chapter’s heating system. This boiler heats the dining room, kitchen, and the wings.
- New emergency lights were installed throughout the house 2013.
There are twelve bedrooms on the first floor, four on the second floor, and five on the third floor. Virtually all rooms can hold two residents, although most residents have single rooms.
We have a commercial-grade kitchen, including a six-burner gas range, dual ovens, griddle, and deep-fryer. Our refrigerator is very new, purchased in 2008, as is our three-bag milk dispenser, and our large freezer holds as much food as the actives can buy! We also have two large sinks, a dishwasher, an electric meat slicer, and many pots and pans.
There is a dedicated study space on the second floor. Many brothers utilize the library’s new desks, laser printer, and house server. The house has cable TV and internet provided by Time Warner Cable and a secure 802.11n wireless network.
Here’s a cropped view of the 1989 survey of the property:
For more information about our house, please feel free to contact the Property Committee.