View Full Version : How many boat houses does a river need?

06-26-2007, 03:56 PM
UCO To Add Women's Rowing Team
AP - 6/26/2007 11:45 AM - Updated 6/26/2007 11:49 AM
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) _ The University of Central Oklahoma will add a women's rowing team to its athletic department.

UCO will use part of a $3 million donation from Sonic founder Troy Smith and his wife Dolly to build a boathouse along the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City.

UCO President Roger Webb says plans are for the team to begin competing next spring.

Central Oklahoma joins the University of Oklahoma in adding women's rowing to its list of varsity sports.

Are they going to share a boathouse with OU, or are we going to have three of them?

06-26-2007, 03:59 PM
Holy cow...but if it is cool as Chesapeake, then bring it on!

06-26-2007, 04:03 PM
To my knowledge, they don't share boat houses. It would be like two teams sharing the same locker room.

06-27-2007, 07:43 AM
Philadelphia has their boathouse row.

After core to shore is coming along in a decade
or so, to have that stretch of shoreline be littered with
multiple boathouses and become a destination for
the sport would be a very good development........

06-27-2007, 08:02 AM
The more, the better, baby!

06-27-2007, 08:42 AM
I was just at the Philly boathouse row about a month ago, pretty impressive although as you showed, it is more historical looking. I don't think that look would work in a newer city like OKC. I like the sleek, modern styling of our boathouse(s).

Glad to hear more boathouses coming online, we could use about a half dozen at least.

06-27-2007, 08:48 AM
UCO must be looking at adding another men's sport. Pres. Roger Webb really believes that the key to growing UCO into the state's next comprehensive university is notoriety through athletics... hence the blind eye turned to the recent and continuing athletics rules violations.

06-27-2007, 08:27 PM
I just received this from OU:


< back to News Headlines

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced at the May Regents meeting that with the assistance of Oklahoma City civic leaders Aubrey K. McClendon and Clayton I. Bennett, OU will add women’s rowing to its intercollegiate athletics program. The announcement of the addition of the new sport was made today at the OU Board of Regents’ meeting.

McClendon and Bennett have worked with the Riverfront Redevelopment Authority and with the OU Athletics Department on the addition of the sport. They have both also been involved in private fund raising for a new boathouse to be constructed on the banks of the Oklahoma River for the sport. McClendon has made a lead gift of $1 million toward the project, and another $1 million will come from a group of private donors led by Bennett. It will be matched by $2 million in Athletics Department bonds to complete the $4 million facility.

“The University of Oklahoma is extremely excited to add this new sport to its athletics program,” said OU President David L. Boren. “We are grateful to Aubrey and Clay for their leadership in this effort.

“The University also is excited that the Sooner flag will be flying prominently along the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City, which over the next few years will become one of the most dynamic places in the entire state.”

“Clay and I are very pleased to help encourage further boathouse development along the Oklahoma River. Women’s rowing is becoming an important intercollegiate sport throughout the country, and now our city will be part of that experience,” said McClendon. “The OU boathouse will be designed by Rand Elliott along a new Boathouse Row that is developing just east of the Chesapeake Boathouse. OU’s commitment to a first-class new boathouse will help achieve our dream of developing Oklahoma City into the premier rowing venue in the United States. In doing so, Oklahoma City will be able to attract the most competitive rowing teams and spectators to participate in outstanding events, making Oklahoma City a true destination for worldwide visitors.”

OU’s commitment to adding women’s rowing to its intercollegiate athletic program represents a major boost to this growing sport. The addition of this sport is good news for women student-athletes, OU and, importantly, the advancement of quality development along the Oklahoma River,” commented Clayton I. Bennett, Chairman of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation.

“Bringing more college athletic events to Oklahoma City is a specific goal of ours, so obviously this is a giant step forward,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. “The Oklahoma River is fulfilling every dream we’ve had. Our thanks to Joe Castiglione and the University of Oklahoma.”

“We are excited to welcome the University of Oklahoma as our neighbor on Oklahoma City’s emerging boathouse row and as a partner in our efforts to develop the Oklahoma River into one of the world’s premier urban aquatic venues,” said Mike Knopp, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation.

“Aubrey McClendon and Clay Bennett have helped pave the way for a new chapter in our program,” said OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. “I want to personally express my appreciation as well for Aubrey McClendon’s gift to the project. Not only does this open more opportunities for student-athletes, but it creates another wonderful presence for us in Oklahoma City.”

The addition of women’s rowing will increase Oklahoma’s Athletics Department programs to a total of 21 sports.

“The addition of this sport further demonstrates our very deep commitment to gender equity in the sports opportunities we offer,” Castiglione said.

The boat house, which will be located on the north side of the river, directly east of the Chesapeake boat house, will serve as the competitive hub for the team.

“The presence of the University of Oklahoma on the Oklahoma River could not come at a more ideal time,” said Pat Downes, Director of Development for the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority. “In the state’s centennial year and with the Olympics fast approaching, the presence of women’s rowing opens the door to a wide variety of very exciting possibilities. OU clearly has the largest concentration of its graduates and alums in central Oklahoma, so the opportunity for the Sooner faithful to gather on the Oklahoma River adds a dimension to Regatta Park that we have not yet seen. The opportunity for intra-regional competition is exciting and with OU’s help, I could see the possibility of bidding to host post-season championships.

“The excellent thing about this development is that the river is so close to very important venues in Oklahoma City, including the State Capitol, the OU Health Sciences Center, downtown and Bricktown. We have possibilities that we’ve only begun to explore at this stage.”

The athletics department plans to initiate the new program with the recruitment of a coach and staff during the 2007/08 academic year to begin the process of establishing the program and building a roster. Scholarships will then be phased in over a two- to three-year period.

Completion of the boathouse is expected by fall of 2009.

This is the first sports addition since 1996, when women’s soccer joined the program.

06-27-2007, 08:33 PM
BTW, the Chesapeake facility cost $3.5 million and not only is it beautiful (as well all know) it has lots of extras, like meeting and function rooms, decks, etc.

So, OU's $4 million should yield something comparable. And at least $3 million for a UCO facility. Is OCU going to stick with Chesapeake?

That area is going to be really special and can soon be used for all types of events, not just rowing.

This is one of those things you could never predict... Who would have considered this when they first proposed turning that ditch of weeds into a real river?

06-27-2007, 08:58 PM
Rand Elliott gets another shot! Woot!

06-27-2007, 09:08 PM
Hopefully this time Rand will design the next boathouse to withstand Oklahoma winds. FYI for those of you who didn't know, the Chesapeake Boathouse he designed, the masts out front were not designed to deal with 30+mph winds and they blew over. Luckily, they blew in the grass and not on top or through the building.

06-27-2007, 09:10 PM
I guess it is time for me to venture into Bass Pro and get a boat.

06-27-2007, 09:13 PM
The more boathouses just mean that the Oklahoma River is thriving. Also, the more activity down there, the better!

Hopefully OCU builds their own boathouse and a few more 'private' ones pop up, as well...

06-28-2007, 07:14 AM
Hopefully this time Rand will design the next boathouse to withstand Oklahoma winds. FYI for those of you who didn't know, the Chesapeake Boathouse he designed, the masts out front were not designed to deal with 30+mph winds and they blew over. Luckily, they blew in the grass and not on top or through the building.

Those problems are usually an error on the part of whatever engineer did the calcs.

06-28-2007, 07:22 AM
That's good to know. I personally like Rand and am glad to see him designing more of the boathouses. It will help establish a consistent look.

06-28-2007, 07:12 PM
Somewhat off topic but: I wish UCO would use some of that 3 million to plop a sonic in our foodcourt. Chickfila and Blimpie just do not cut it. haha ok I am done.

07-02-2007, 11:28 AM
A river needs as many Boathouses that the teams need to function competitively. Do you think we will move forward in the Olympic community (USA Rowing World Challenge this October) unless we think progressively?

Astute observation re: the boathouse oars "blowing over." that would be the engineering aspect of the design, not the architect's design.

07-03-2007, 02:01 PM
The OK River will support as many Boathouses as there are organizations with rowing clubs which use it to train, etc. As long as they are not using tax dollars, why would anyone complain about encouraging a sport that is bringing Olympic-level athletes to Oklahoma?

10-09-2007, 07:53 AM
OCU's boathouse: First of three more

By Bryan Dean

Oklahoma City University will build a $10 million boathouse along the bank of the Oklahoma River, the first in a series of three collegiate boathouses which city leaders hope will make Oklahoma City a world destination for rowing, officials said Monday.

The OCU boathouse, which should be built by fall 2009, will be just east of the Lincoln Boulevard bridge near the finish line for rowing events such as this weekend's Head of the Oklahoma Centennial Regatta.

Rand Elliot, lead architect for the Chesapeake Boat

house at Regatta Park, also will design the OCU boat


The OCU boathouse will feature a training center which OCU officials hope will lure the world's best rowers. OCU, through the efforts of rowing coach Mike Knopp, has led the development of rowing on the Oklahoma River.

Knopp, who also serves as director of the Head of the Oklahoma City Regatta, said the training center will serve more than just OCU rowers.

"We'd love to have teams from all over the world choose to come to Oklahoma City not only to race but also to train,” Knopp said. "The way we have planned and designed this facility, when you take it in combination with the Chesapeake Boathouse, it is going to rival anything else in the world.”

City officials said the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma are planning to build boathouses along the river bank in an area city leaders will call "boathouse row.” Further details about the OU and UCO boathouses have not been released.

OCU President Tom McDaniel said all three universities are coordinating to build boathouses which will work in conjunction with the Chesapeake Boathouse to make the Oklahoma River a more popular rowing venue.

"It's inspirational to me that all three of our universities have been cooperative,” McDaniel said "We are each looking for facilities that would not compete or duplicate each other, but be compatible.”

OCU's boathouse will include indoor seating with a view of the regatta finish line and an outdoor performing arts area.

It also will include a storage area for OCU's growing varsity rowing program. "The Chesapeake Boathouse has been open a year and a half and it's already at the point where it is full,” Knopp said. "With the expansion of our collegiate programs, the need is definitely there for more boathouses.”

McDaniel and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett credited Knopp for leading the development of rowing along the river. But Knopp said making the river into a world-class venue would not be possible without the cooperation of OU, UCO and other community leaders.

"We believe everyone working together can create a venue that would far surpass anything that we could do individually,” Knopp said. "We see each boathouse really complementing one another.”

Elliot will also be involved in the design of the OU and UCO boathouses, city officials said.

Cornett said it is no exaggeration to predict Oklahoma City could become the pre-eminent rowing destination in the world.

10-09-2007, 08:16 AM
There are some nasty comments about this over on Newsok.

Exactly Morris , its not like rowing is exactly a huge growth sport. Its more of the razzle dazzle BS you see from misguided city leaders desperately grasping for any economic development straw. 400 miles to the south of here Austin has pretty much captured the wintertime college rowing market , and the downtown area there is much prettier and the quality of life so much better that Oklahoma City really doesn't have a prayer. Oklahoma will continue to do what it is best at , fostering hucksters and robbing taxpayers. Last time I crossed over 44 on the " Oklahoma" river it was almost dry , I guess the rowers can drag themselves thru the mud. And lets not forget the ferries to Bricktown !!! I guess they can dodge the rowers who are making the mud fly

State-supported schools should not be involved in these arrogant types of programs at a time that educational cost at both, OU and UCO are increasing each year. I don't want to hear that baloney that these projects will be supported by sponsorships or other outside interest. Bottom line is that anyone participating on these teams will be give a scholarship and coaching staffs will be added at the taxpayers and students expense. A deserving student or funds struggling want to be student from OKLAHOMA will be left out in order to fund and support a program such as an unneccessary rowing team. This is a continuing sales pitch and a group of rich people's pipe dream to make OKC, a world class rowing site. Get real I am sure people from around the world are going to make every attempt to travel to Oklahoma for a rowing event. Mick Cornett lost more than his last election he has lost his head to several members of private interest groups to sponsor a cause such as this one. Here a simple one - Power is Knowledge, now focus on educating and providing for the youth of this community.

10-09-2007, 08:40 AM
I'm glad to see not only more boathouses and development, but buildings of real architectural interest and quality:

10-09-2007, 08:43 AM
Dead. Sexy.

10-09-2007, 08:49 AM
It's definitely interesting. The glass front is cool...nice how its got the whole boat look to the building.

If that's a $10 Million project, it sort of makes me sad to see what UCO is going to do for only $3 Million.

10-09-2007, 08:52 AM
I agree. It will be great to have a showcase of modern architecture along the river as people travel here from all over to come to these competitions.

But PLEASE, PLEASE plant a bunch of trees!

10-09-2007, 08:53 AM
Besides just rowing, that area where the CHK boathouse is located and others will be built is a great asset to the community in general.

There is a very nice park and pavilion and the bike path winds through there... And I bet the other structures will be available for events just like CHK.

And of course, this will really help draw events and other activities to the river for the benefit of all.

I really hope they can find a way to better bridge the south end of the canal with this area because last time I was in town and walked through that area, it was very difficult to get between them.

10-09-2007, 08:56 AM
I don't understand how the OCU building could cost $10 million.

The CHK structure was $3.5 and the one OU is planning is to be $4 million.

10-09-2007, 08:57 AM
I hope the poster from NewsOK comes to the USA Rowing Challenge this weekend - this sounds like a blast! Good job OKC:tiphat:

The USA Rowing World Challenge welcomes competitors from around the world for 2000m Olympic style racing and 500m NightSprints. Competitors in this inaugural event include national team rowers from the United States, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Georgia, Switzerland and the Republic of Moldova.

The 2007 Oklahoma Centennial Regatta Festival combines two of America’s most exciting rowing regattas, the USA Rowing World Challenge and the Oklahoma City University Head of the Oklahoma – together with four days of family fun on the Oklahoma River!

While international and collegiate rowers race on the river, the river banks will be filled with live music and entertainment, food from some of Oklahoma’s finest restaurants, wine tasting, a children’s area, an art show and international expo, kayaking, and cycling demonstrations. And be sure to catch “The Olympic Experience,” an interactive exhibit showcasing Olympic sports located just north of the Chesapeake Boathouse.

At night, spectators will gather along the sprint course as OG&E lights up the sky for 500 meter NightSprints – the most exciting rowing races you’ll ever see – with spectacular fireworks marking the end of each day’s racing.

Festival admission is free. Tickets are required for the blū party. Free parking and shuttle are provided throughout the weekend.

Festival Hours
Thursday, October 11 - 6 pm to 9 pm (ticket required for blū party)
Friday, October 12 - 10 am to 10 pm
Saturday, October 13 - 10 am to 10 pm
Sunday, October 14 - 10 am to 1 pm

More about the events…

blū Party and Corporate Challenge
Thursday, October 11
The excitement begins on Thursday with the blū party at the Chesapeake Boathouse. Live music, food from an array of Oklahoma City’s best restaurants, wine tasting and an opportunity to meet some of the world’s elite rowers promises to make this an evening to remember. As the sun sets, the action moves to the river with the Corporate Rowing Challenge. More than a dozen corporate teams from across Oklahoma City will race under the lights for office bragging rights!

Contact Melanie Maguire at (405) 552-4040 or email at

USA Rowing World Challenge
Premier Event > Friday, October 12
The USA Rowing World Challenge will showcase top international rowing talent from the most competitive teams in the world – including the US National Team – as they prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The excitement will begin with 2000 meter Olympic style racing during the day, then reach new heights as crews compete in adrenaline-fueled 500-meter sprint finals under the lights that evening!

OCU Head of the Oklahoma
Premier Event > Saturday/Sunday, October 13-14
The OCU Head of the Oklahoma is one of the premier collegiate rowing events in the nation and is expected to attract more than 40 crews and 1000+ athletes. Crews will compete in the 2.5 mile head racing during the day, then take to the water that night for 500 meter OG&E NightSprints.

Live Music & Entertainment
You’ll find live music, dance productions, and roving performers providing lively entertainment throughout the weekend.

The Olympic Experience
The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are only months away. Catch the Olympic spirit when you visit this interactive exhibit presented by the US Olympic Committee and the University of Central Oklahoma, a US Olympic Committee Community Partner.

Wine Tasting
Oklahoma’s own Grape Ranch Winery presents an array of wines for your tasting pleasure. Must be 21 years of age. Commemorative Pin Required $5

Children’s Area
Face painting, art activities, safety exhibits and more are offered in the free children’s area. Looking for a little more excitement? Check out the inflatables for an afternoon of boundless fun!

Kayaking is rapidly becoming a favored sport on the Oklahoma River! Watch demonstrations by USA Canoe Kayak (free). Then try it out yourself – we provide the kayaks, paddles and life jackets. Commemorative Pin Required $5

Art Show
Oklahoma artists celebrate the state’s centennial with a creative flourish. Browse their offerings and perhaps purchase a piece of fine art to commemorate this important moment in Oklahoma’s history.

International Expo
Explore the international flavor of the Oklahoma Centennial Regatta Festival in the International Expo tent.

Food Plaza
Oklahoma City’s best restaurants come together to once again provide festival spectators with food to please everyone’s palate – from crab cakes and fajitas to hamburgers and popcorn, there’s something for everyone!

The Head of the Oklahoma is the premier fall event in Oklahoma City and there is no entrance fee to enjoy the excitement and pageantry of the regatta

10-09-2007, 09:17 AM
I think it's great there is so much interest but I have to tell you, that water is some of the most disgusting I've ever seen. The thought of falling in it or even having it splash on me completely grosses me out. If the water was nice I'd join the boathouse in a second, I've always wanted to try rowing. I'm trying to convince myself to forget about the water and try it.

10-09-2007, 09:21 AM
I like how they talk about making the facility multi purpose. I went to a wedding reception at the Chesapeake Boathouse. It was a blast... really cool atmosphere.

10-09-2007, 09:34 AM
The traffic is going to be horrendous in the area this weekend with the Centennial parade. I would def leave really early with all these concurrent events.

I agree with trees!!

Please Plant some Shade Trees!

10-09-2007, 04:34 PM
I am constantly amazed at how short-sighted some people are. My wife and I graduated from OU in 1994. Shortly after graduation we were visiting Tampa, Florida and took a Saturday to explore downtown Tampa. The University of Tampa is located along the Hillsborough River just across from downtown. On the seawall along the river were murals painted by visiting rowing team. It included team from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and many many other prestigious universities. My wife and I were both impressed with the display and it gave us a sense of cultural that we had not known living in Oklahoma. Three months later we made Tampa our home.

From an economic standpoint, I think attracting the athletes from these respective universities is great exposure for Oklahoma City. I dislike Ivy League executives probably as much as anyone, but you can’t deny the fact that many of these athletes visiting OKC today will be making executive decision in the boardroom tomorrow. It would be nice to know that the next time Johnson & Johnson or General Electric is looking at expansion/relocation, someone in the room has a favorable impression/memory of OKC.

Oklahoma River Boathouse : $5,000,000
Watching race with family: $100
Landing major international headquarters: priceless

10-09-2007, 10:21 PM
My husband and I started taking erg classes on Saturday mornings and hope to start rowing next month. We were very surprised about how many people are on the river on Saturdays. The parking lot is consistently full. There are all lots of kids, I'm talking teenagers, rowing as well as the college kids. The Chesapeake boathouse is well used all of the time and there really does seem to be a need for the other boathouses exclusively for the colleges.

10-10-2007, 12:56 AM
But PLEASE, PLEASE plant a bunch of trees!

Agreed! I would like to see any area that is not developed, shaded by beautiful green trees. Man-made structures aren't the only thing you can utilize to add a little density to an area.

10-10-2007, 07:35 AM
We are in deperate need of landscaping all along the river....perhaps some bonding is in order?

10-10-2007, 07:56 AM
To tag along on Kerry's response - this was a remark from the coach at Harvard after visiting last October.
" . . . the night racing is a terrific idea and while I watched it I felt like I was experiencing something like the first spectators at the first night baseball game. You're doin' fine Oklahoma!"

I would say Kerry is absolutely correct is the "priceless" tag given to the time and effort put into the rowing and beautification along the OK River.

10-10-2007, 08:03 AM
I think it's great there is so much interest but I have to tell you, that water is some of the most disgusting I've ever seen. The thought of falling in it or even having it splash on me completely grosses me out. If the water was nice I'd join the boathouse in a second, I've always wanted to try rowing. I'm trying to convince myself to forget about the water and try it.

Agreed, 100%. You might get hepatitis in that water!

10-10-2007, 08:27 AM
It's definitely interesting. The glass front is cool...nice how its got the whole boat look to the building.

If that's a $10 Million project, it sort of makes me sad to see what UCO is going to do for only $3 Million.

Why? I believe the Chesapeake Boathouse was built to the tune of $3.5 million 2 years ago and I think it looks stunning. Even with inflation, UCO's $3 million will go a long way.

10-10-2007, 09:08 AM
We are in deperate need of landscaping all along the river....perhaps some bonding is in order?


10-10-2007, 10:10 AM
I hope MAPS 3 includes some substantial beautification projects and the river should definitely be a priority.

10-10-2007, 04:03 PM
Shop Talk: A Boathouse, Building at Broome, Blowin&#39; Wind, and&#160;More - (

Here's a link to the rendering of the OCU boathouse. I am not sure how to post it here, so perhaps someone else can.

10-11-2007, 08:12 AM
Thanks for the link betts. The rendering is already posted on page one of this thread but I'll post it again for you. This picture is slightly bigger I believe.

10-11-2007, 02:02 PM
On the water thing....remember it is a flood control river. The water is going to be whatever runs off of the land upstream. We're never going to have real clean water in that river no matter what we do beacuse the purpose it serves. Because the river has spillway damns, it also lends itself to having to deal with the fact that the lighter material in a river that floats (ie oil and trash) is what spills to the next area. I think an ideal thing would be to install some sort of filtering thing to catch some of the stuff at each damn...not sure how to do that.

10-11-2007, 02:23 PM
The Arkansas looks just as muddy running through Tulsa.

10-11-2007, 11:28 PM
I agree. It will be great to have a showcase of modern architecture along the river as people travel here from all over to come to these competitions.

But PLEASE, PLEASE plant a bunch of trees!

I totally agree. I was down there last night and it looks pretty good, but it does need more trees. I know they've planted a lot and they are slowly maturing but there needs to be more of an initiative to get trees down there.

'Softer' banks would also be nice so they're not so stark. Something like this could definitely be done to the Oklahoma River (ignore the skyline):

Oh GAWD the Smell!
10-12-2007, 06:35 AM
I don't even think you'd need bonding to get trees down there. Let people that care plant them.

If somebody were to organize it, I'd be willing to tote a tree or two down there, dig some holes, and drop them in...Provided that 1) I got a deal on the trees from a local tree place, 2) I was told what trees to plant and exactly where to plant them and 3) I get to kick the first person to suggest a billboard down there right square in the pills.

I would seriously do this (not the kicking part), and I'm neither a downtown resident nor somebody who is prone to donating my time and money to civic projects. I'm just a guy who loves the water and thinks that this city is severely lacking in landscaping almost everywhere.

Well, okay...Maybe the kicking part too.

10-12-2007, 06:58 AM
This is a cool thing to send to out of towners:

Welcome to (

10-12-2007, 07:33 AM
Speaking of organizing a tree planting - there is a group called "NeighborWoods" that does just that. I think OK has a branch (sorry, no pun intended!) locally that might be able to help plant some trees along the river.

10-12-2007, 07:54 AM
I took a walk down the river last weekend and noticed that there are a lot of trees planted they are just immature. It takes a while for trees to grow. I think they must be similar in size and maturity to the trees at Lake Hefner's east side.

02-13-2008, 05:12 PM
OU announced today the hiring of a rowing coach and said in the press release they will be starting on their boathouse 'soon'.