|May 20, 2003
GALESBURG — With the addition of a deck and ramp, the chapter house of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Knox College has become the first handicapped-accessible fraternity house on the Knox campus. Work was completed May 15 with the pouring of a concrete pad at the foot of the ramp.
The project — which brought together current students, alumni and local contractors — began in 2001 when the fraternity started planning a deck at the rear of the 96-year-old house at 160 West South Street.
"The seniors thought the deck would be a great addition to the house," said Mike Kraycinovich, a senior from New Jersey and president of the fraternity. "The idea for the ramp came from the president of the College, Roger Taylor, as part of a campus-wide effort to bring every building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act."
The ramp fulfills an idea that dates to 1989, when the house was renovated and the first floor was designed to be handicapped-accessible.
The $22,000 deck and ramp project was directed by two TKE alumni, 1973 graduate John Gorski of St. Charles, Illinois, and 1989 graduate David Grisamore of Chicago, and supported by gifts from TKE alumni. Alumni and actives worked jointly to set 48 posts, also providing labor for construction of the frame, flooring, and railing.
"The project brought together our alumni, actives, and a local contractor, Dick Brodt, who was the lead carpenter on the project," Kraycinovich said. "It has been an alumni-fraternity-community undertaking. We got great sweat equity from the TKE brothers and alumni."
"There was also a lot of interest in Galesburg," said Kraycinovich, who has an internship in the Knox County State's Attorney's Office and will attend Oklahoma City University Law School next year. "When I go to work at the Courthouse everyone there seems to want a weekly update on the deck. It has turned out to be as much their project as it is ours."
The house was built in 1907 as the home of professor William Bentley, who taught music at Knox from 1895 to 1908. The Knox chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was chartered in 1912 and moved into the house in 1920. According to the records of the Knox chapter it is the longest-serving TKE house in the nation.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 42 nations. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.
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Photo: Tau Kappa Epsilon member Matt Crossland helps shovel cement on May 15 to finish construction of the handicap ramp at the TKE House at Knox College. [Download for publication]
Photo: TKE House, rear view, showing deck and ramp [Download for publication]
TKE Chapter at Knox