UMass Announces Building Of New Rowing Boathouse
Dec. 5, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts has announced that construction is now underway for a new boathouse facility for the women's rowing team. The new boathouse will be built as part of the Sportsman Marina on the Connecticut River next to the Calvin Coolidge Bridge. This will be the first permanent home facility for the program since its inception as a varsity sport in 1995.
"The completion of this building will be the single most significant event in the history of UMass rowing. The entire team, alumni and I would like to thank John McCutcheon, Jamie Seguin, and Jeff Smith for their tireless effort in bringing this project to completion," said UMass rowing head coach Jim Dietz. "The boathouse will solidify the commitment this university has made to the success of our rowing program. It will help in our recruiting effort as well giving us a gathering point for our many distinguished alumni."
The facility is scheduled to be completed in June 2013 with the initial groundbreaking having already started. The opening ceremony for the facility will be held on September 8, 2013. The rowing team had previously used a launch point just north of the new boathouse location on the opposite side of the Coolidge Bridge.
"We are extremely pleased that we have been able to make this much needed facility a reality," said UMass Director of Athletics John McCutcheon. "This will be a wonderful asset for our women's rowing program and I cannot thank enough those who have worked so hard for so long to make this happen. In particular, we have to thank Sportsman Marina's owner Gary Pelissier for his commitment to this project and his support of UMass rowing."
The new boathouse facility will feature three bays to store and maintain boats. At approximately 72'-by-80', it will allow amble space for competition boats, practice boats and launches. The facility will be just a short distance from the water with new docks allowing easy entry to the river.
Also included in the facility will be a team room, showers, changing areas, and storage space for both training and competition equipment. The boathouse will be heated to allow for a comfortable workspace for boat repairs, student-athlete workouts and general functions.
The Connecticut River is the primary training site for the UMass rowing team. The river is the largest in New England as it flows 410 miles from its source at Fourth Connecticut Lake (just south of the Canadian border) to the Long Island Sound. In 1998, the Connecticut River was designated by the White House as an American Heritage River.
The UMass rowing team has been the most successful program in the history of the Atlantic 10 Conference winning 13 of 16 league championships. The Minutewomen won the first 12 consecutive A-10 titles from 1996-2007. In his time as head coach, Dietz has been named the league's Coach of the Year on seven different occasions. An Olympian himself, Dietz has been the only head coach of the rowing team since it became a Division I sport at UMass.
Since 1997, the program has produced seven members of the U.S. National Team, one member of both the Canadian and German National Teams and three Olympians. During his time at UMass, Dietz has also coached two Olympic teams as well.
For the University of Massachusetts, the boathouse represents the latest in a number of facility upgrades over the past decade. It is the third new facility to be constructed with the others being the new track and field complex and the new Student Recreation Facility. Other facility enhancements include field turf, permanent lighting, and a video board upgrade at McGuirk Stadium (football/women's lacrosse); new grandstand seating/batting cages/outfield wall at Elaine Sortino Field (softball); new bleachers/press box at Garber Field (men's lacrosse/field hockey); field upgrades/new backstop/upgraded dugouts/homeplate halo at Earl Lorden Field (baseball); a new dryland training room in Boyden Gymnasium (swimming and diving) and new end zone video boards at the Mullins Center (men's basketball/women's basketball/hockey).For those interested in making a gift to support the Boathouse project please contact Katie Crowe Wood, Associate Director of Development for UMass Athletics at 413-545-1265.