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Alpha Gamma Rho breaks ground on new fraternity house

Alpha Gamma Rho broke ground on Saturday, August 15th for their new fraternity house on the University of Florida’s Greek Lots located on Museum Drive and the beginning of Fraternity Row. Members from around the state attended the small, Covid-19 compliant, ceremony while others watched as it was streamed live on Facebook.

The $7 million project marks the fraternity’s 95th year at the University of Florida. “It’s also an indication of the strength and health of Alpha Gamma Rho, the premier national agriculture fraternity,” said Peter Chaires (’87) AGR House Association President.

The new house’s brick and white‑pillared design is a classic creation by architect Michael Puckett (’85) of Ai Collaborative from Tampa. The aging AGR house formerly located on 13th Street was sold in 2017. Since then, fraternity members have been leasing a vacated fraternity house located on Fraternity Row. Monies from the sale of the house and a dedicated capital campaign generated the funds necessary to build the new 19,000 s/f house. More than 290 members and other donors have already given nearly $3.5 million toward the $7 million project. While the fundraising continues, AGR was able to obtain financing to initiate the construction process.

Construction began on August 20th and is managed by Scorpio, a local community-centered construction management firm that has completed four sorority houses in the last 4 years. The AGR house will be open in time for the Fall of 2021.

The new two-story house will accommodate 35 men and retain two-man rooms with private bath/restroom facilities. The first floor will consist of House Mother/Director Suite for live-in supervision of chapter house activities, along with informal and formal study spaces, including areas for individual and group study, and gathering space for brothers living off-campus.

The full-service kitchen will provide meal service with increased efficiency. State-of-the-art technology will make power usage efficient, increase reliable internet access, and prepare the facility for the next 20 years. The new house will comply with all mandatory life-safety requirements with sprinklers, fire-rated doors, and full adherence to code specifications. Rob Hunt (’82), a member of the housing committee, said the construction project is also notable because the new Alpha Gamma Rho house will be fully ADA accessible.

The large front and rear raised patio will enhance the visual approach and maximize useable outdoor space and enhanced parking and green space for philanthropic Greek events, alumni reunions, and chapter brotherhood will help further the mission of Alpha Gamma Rho. Adam Putnam (‘92), former Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, speaks for all AGR alumni when he asserted, “AGR has developed young men into growers, ranchers, and industry leaders across our state and beyond. The new house represents an investment in the future of Florida agriculture and the next generation who will have to navigate the ever-increasing challenges we face.”