Truman State demolished the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house — formerly located on Normal Street across from Ophelia Parrish — Oct. 19, after the organization moved to a larger house to accommodate its increase in membership.
Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, says the University purchased the house last semester for approximately $125,000. He says the land will be used as a green space between the parking lot and Ophelia Parrish.
“[Truman tends] to buy things strategically. We would rather buy that land and have it in the University’s possession than have it turn into something unsightly. We want to protect the space around the school.”
– Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning
Senior Chase Wrisinger, Alpha Gamma Rho president, says the organization sold its chapter house of 21 years because the house was too small for the amount of students it had to support.
“When Ag Rho first bought that house, there had been a huge drop in membership,” Wrisinger says. “In the past few years we’ve seen a big jump in recruitment — there are closer to 40 members today, and we see this as an opportunity to expand more.”
Wrisinger says Ag Rho purchased a new building at 2116 S. Franklin St. last semester and offered to sell its old location to the University.
The funds the organization received for the house went to the purchase of its new location, Wrisinger says.
While Wrisinger says he is excited about the prospect of expanding membership, he says the demolition was bittersweet for him.
“I’m a senior, and I’ve been at that house for quite a while,” Wrisinger says. “I’ve made a ton of memories there.”
Glenn Wehner, agricultural science professor and Ag Rho faculty advisor, says the size of Ag Rho has fluctuated during the last few decades.
Wehner says while the organization currently has more than 40 members, there was a period of time during which the fraternity was much smaller.
“When we came out of the ‘80s and ‘90s, we had a change in recruitment pressure within the University and the number of [agricultural science] students dropped,” Wehner says. “When I took over as advisor during the ‘80s, we had over 200 agriculture majors. It dropped during the early ‘90s to about one-third of that number.”
Wehner says Ag Rho moved out of its original house on Osteopathy Street to the Normal Street location during the ‘90s because Ag Rho membership had dropped down to about five members.