View Full Version : Boathouse Row

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03-16-2008, 10:34 AM
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03-16-2008, 10:39 AM
Wow! this venue if completed to this scale would be world class. Let's hope it gets done to this level of quality

03-16-2008, 10:52 AM
I believe OCU, UCO & OU are all getting very close to starting construction.

I also saw on the city website several ground lease documents for a good chunk of property in that area, principally with Bill Canfield's investment group that owns most the surrounding land.

03-16-2008, 11:45 AM
Nice! Thanks for taking the time to post them.

03-16-2008, 02:54 PM
I like how they're getting rid of the rock bank on the N side of the river.

Oh GAWD the Smell!
03-16-2008, 03:59 PM
I'm trying to figure out how they make the water blue.


If all that comes to pass...WOW. Just WOW. I have zero interest in rowing, but I'd go down there just to see the sights if all that gets built.

03-16-2008, 06:22 PM
Besides rowing, that complex will certainly be used for other outdoor events, such as live music.

I love the idea of using neon/LED lighting of different colors. Could really become iconic with the skyline in the background -- something truly unique that would really distinguish OKC.

What's really amazing is that this was never really considered in the original MAPS plan but soon as the river was properly filled in, somebody said "What if?" and look where we're headed now. Pretty darn amazing.

I sure hope Core to Shore has the same type of unforeseen impact.

03-16-2008, 10:14 PM
What's really amazing is that this was never really considered in the original MAPS plan but soon as the river was properly filled in, somebody said "What if?" and look where we're headed now. Pretty darn amazing.

We need more of that "what if" atittude. It enables people to dream big and make places such as our once-forgettable river something better than we could have ever imagined.

This city is on the move in the right direction, even with a certain state rep. making foolish comments that the whole nation heard. Hope we can keep this momentum up

03-16-2008, 11:47 PM
Imagine how that's going to look with the skyline (new Devon addition included) just behind it on a warm summer night. When I was growing up, people didn't go near downtown just to take a walk. In the future, I think people are going to visit these kinds of places just to enjoy the beautiful view with their significant other. That's what OKC's destined to become; a place with options, not limitations.

03-17-2008, 09:37 AM
Could really become iconic with the skyline in the background -- something truly unique that would really distinguish OKC.

Totally agree. This is impressive and something I never would have thought off. Kudos to those that thought this up and to those that took the first steps (Chesapeake... see I don't hate them ;) )

Harvey Hudson
03-17-2008, 10:20 AM
Personally I think it is a bit modern. I love the idea just do not like the execution. I like the way the traditional boathouses back east look. I also think they would fit in with the architecture better.

I understand that the point is to stand out ant not blend in.....I applaud the effort and vision.

What will be going on the other side of the river? Besides removingthe rock?

03-17-2008, 01:49 PM
I saw that they were planning to hold a triathlon along the river this spring, although I think it may now be up in the air due to I-40 construction.

However, it's a great idea and a great location for that type of event.

Triathlon is really growing in popularity and besides Redman in the fall (which is a full and half ironman) there aren't a lot of competitions in the state.

The river and bike/running paths are perfect for a medium-length race which is what they planned. If it doesn't come off this year, hopefully it will in 2009.

03-17-2008, 02:51 PM
I agree Pete, although I wouldn't want to swim in that nasty water.

03-17-2008, 03:10 PM
Is it really that nasty? I've seen several comments like this but I've never noticed.

But triathlon swims are almost always in open water and it's certainly never clean and clear. I doubt it would stop many people from participating. I assure you, I've swam in far worse!

David Pollard
03-17-2008, 03:15 PM
Wow!! Fantastic OKC. This is truly visionary architecture that could put the city in a limelight that we never counted on. Reminds me of the type of really controversial, yet exciting architecture of Bruce Goff of OU fame. Now, a 700 foot Devon tower in the background would really shake off the old backwater image of OKC. Any more rumors on possible designs or architectural firms?

03-17-2008, 04:05 PM
Yea the water isn't nasty...The only time I've seen it look nasty is after it rains or after a storm. A triathalon would be soo cool! =]

03-17-2008, 04:12 PM
So impressed with the direction, university participation, contemporary look ect.
Give the venue 20 yrs and it could host the summer olympics.

The east coast natural beauty of a river is great, but serious people in the sport want a venue akin to what OKC is creating.
The design is just more inviting and more accomidating for the true athlete in rowing.

03-17-2008, 04:16 PM
have to agree with the above post about our spectacular river and what it has to offer rowers. Mike from the CHK Boathouse mentioned how straight the OK River is in a recent article and how the rowers just loved it. and I think the modern architecture is fantastic - let the Easterners have their collegiate boathouses.

03-17-2008, 04:19 PM
Any more rumors on possible designs or architectural firms?

E+A is doing all of the boathouses, I think.

As for the tower, there's a thread for that.

03-17-2008, 04:29 PM
I read that Rand Elliott was not only designing all the boathouses, but the entire complex -- and at no charge to the city.

I know he'll get a lot of notoriety for this work but it's still pretty darn generous.

03-17-2008, 05:45 PM
Is it really that nasty?

I wouldn't want to swim in it.

Fecal matter levels to high (

03-17-2008, 08:46 PM
What are they going to do about the land on the on the south side of the river? If you look south of the boat house now it looks horiable. There is an old junky train yard there, and behind that there are some some really bad houses. I do not want people coming to OKC to see the ghetto while they watch a boat race.

03-18-2008, 09:15 AM
Certainly, that entire river area has a long way to go.... It's been pretty much a dump for the last several decades.

Here's the long-range plan for the area:

03-18-2008, 09:25 AM
I think David Pollard was asking about possible architects for the Devon Tower - anyone heard rumors on that? Steve . . . you probably have heard something - now tell us first!

03-18-2008, 09:52 AM
There's a separate thread talking about the Devon Tower.

03-18-2008, 10:19 PM
Certainly, that entire river area has a long way to go.... It's been pretty much a dump for the last several decades.

Here's the long-range plan for the area:

Most of that will not happen and has been changed. A little thing called Core to Shore happened.

03-18-2008, 10:44 PM
Core to Shore is a very small percentage of this overall concept, and from what they've shown even that part isn't a significant change, just more refinement.

Besides, that's all just concept as well at this point -- at least in terms of the riverfront.

03-18-2008, 11:30 PM

Where did you find that plan? It is quite ambitious I must say.
Who is doing all of this planning? Lot's of questions but I would really like to see this plan come to fruition. I just love the idea of the river becoming a gathering place for the city especially if it is cleaned up and looks like this plan.

03-19-2008, 12:49 PM
There was an article in the DOK about Boathouse Row:

Wed March 19, 2008
OU boathouse part of bigger vision along Oklahoma RiverRelated Information

College rowing teams that will soon make waves on the Oklahoma River are a big part of Oklahoma City's effort to become a one-of-a-kind rowing destination.

The University of Oklahoma on Tuesday became the third state school to formalize an agreement with Oklahoma City to build a boathouse on the river for its rowing team.

It's a move that will bring Division I collegiate rowing to the river and positions the city to be on par with places such as Boston, Philadelphia and Washington that have long enjoyed rowing as part of the fabric of urban life.

"There are a lot of places that have boathouses. We would be very unique in that we'd have three major university boathouses right in a row, said Mike Knopp, executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, which is helping plan boathouse development along the river.

Plans for the OU boathouse have been known for some time. The agreement approved Tuesday by the Oklahoma City Council provides the framework for how the university's boathouse will fit in to what the city is calling a "boathouse row.

OU's agreement is similar to those already reached with Oklahoma City University and the University of Central Oklahoma.

A fourth boathouse could possibly be occupied by another university, Knopp said. An event center is also planned.

Like the other college boathouses, OU's boathouse will have storage for its team's boat shells, a high-performance training center, event space and other amenities. The new Sooner rowing team begins practice next year.

Knopp said there isn't a definitive construction timeframe for the boathouses, but that some if not all of them should be finished by 2010.

OU President David Boren announced last month that the university's boathouse will be called the Aubrey McClendon OU Boathouse thanks to a $2 million donation the Chesapeake Energy chairman and chief executive officer made to the university.

McClendon made the donation through the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, of which he also is chairman.

OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said the university doesn't have an estimate on the final construction cost of the boathouse.

The Chesapeake Boathouse will remain the anchor of boathouse row and the other boathouses will feature similar designs, Knopp said.

Local architecture firm Elliott and Associates, which designed the Chesapeake Boathouse, will design the universities' boathouses.

Knopp said the boathouses will make the river a sports venue just as prominent as the Ford Center or Bricktown Ballpark.

"We really think that by putting together this vision and putting these boathouses in place and creating this environment down there that it really will be one-of-a-kind and it really will be world-class, Knopp said.

In fact, the river is already attracting world-class attention. Among the events on the river later this year are kayak trials for the 2008 Olymics in Beijing.

03-19-2008, 01:49 PM
Most of that will not happen and has been changed. A little thing called Core to Shore happened.

Well, nothing has happened yet, but I don't see how that concept conflicts with core to shore. It's much more comprehensive for sure, but very little of that plan of seems to overlap with the planned C2S district.

05-07-2008, 08:18 AM
Oklahoma City University head rowing coach Mike Knopp speaks during a christening event Tuesday along the Oklahoma River. (Photo by Jennifer Pitts)

Devon, OCU christen boathouse site as other colleges plan theirs
Journal Record
May 7, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY – Devon Energy Corp. and Oklahoma City University plan to row, row, row their boats gently down the Oklahoma River from a boathouse set for completion next year.

Devon and OCU christened the future site of the boathouse with champagne Tuesday, marking a $5 million donation by Devon to complete the funding for the $10 million boathouse. The site is just east of the Chesapeake Boathouse at Regatta Park on the north shore of the Oklahoma River. Plans are also in the works to eventually build additional boathouses for the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma rowing teams.

Early plans show a two-level triangle-shaped OCU boathouse designed by Rand Elliott. Tom McDaniel, president of OCU, said the school has a relationship with Devon in the form of scholarships the company sponsors.That made Devon the obvious choice for a partner to build the boathouse.“When it became apparent that the river was going to be such a big part of the future of Oklahoma City, and our rowing program grew from one student to 75, we knew we needed our own boathouse,” McDaniel said. “We went to a partner that had been good to us in the past.” The final commitment from Devon was finalized recently after months of talks, McDaniel said.

OCU began its rowing program in 2000 under Mike Knopp. The team became the first varsity crew program in the state in 2004. Since then the team has racked up awards from competitions around the country.“What we’re trying to do is create one of the world’s premier urban aquatic venues,” Knopp said. “This boathouse will send a message around the world that will demonstrate our commitment for the future and solidify our place as one of the world’s best rowing venues.”

Ray Ackerman, co-founder of the advertising firm Ackerman McQueen Inc. and a longtime advocate of making the river a viable resource, said the layout for rowing was done quite by accident.Ackerman said when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers made a flood control ditch in the 1950s, they created a straightened portion of the river, making it ideal for competitive rowing.

For years, however, the river was simply an overgrown grassy ditch. But Ackerman never gave up on its potential.“I’m a river man,” Ackerman said. “I grew up with three rivers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and what I learned was we could have water in this river.”Larry Nichols, chairman and CEO of Devon, applauded city leaders and mayors over the last decades, the MAPS project, and subsequent private investment that among other projects put water back in the river.

Looking at two Devon river cruisers and OCU rowers on the river, Nichols joked that a few years ago if someone proposed a boathouse or river cruisers in Oklahoma City many would likely scratch their heads and ask, “What river are you going to build these on?” “The momentum in Oklahoma City is just palpable,” Nichols said. “It has been a great honor for Devon to join in another public private-type partnership with Oklahoma City University to create this boathouse.”

OCU has a lease from the River Trust on the property. McDaniel said the goal is to have the boathouse completed by fall 2009.“That will be an ambitious schedule,” he said. In the meantime the university will continue to use the neighboring Chesapeake Boathouse. Knopp said he has repeatedly heard comments from rowers from around the world on the quality of the river. Last month the river hosted the U.S. canoe and kayak Olympic trials.“I think we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential for Oklahoma City and the river,” Knopp said.

The Journal Record - Article (

05-07-2008, 08:26 AM
Wow, that is going to be really impressive! It was so exciting last year when we went to the Rowing events.

One thing I've always wanted was more shade trees along the river ... for shade and to soften the concrete look.

I hope they implement a very aggressive tree planting project now so trees have time to grow.

05-07-2008, 08:56 AM
master plan will take what????? 30 years?

05-07-2008, 11:24 AM
I think this is really exciting and I can not wait for the OU Boathouse to be built. I think our boat house row will be a big help get rid of out dust bowl image. Its going to really add to our downtown.

05-08-2008, 09:13 AM
OU boathouse is still in early planning phases as it awaits fundraising, and Mike Mays, a licensed architect iwth Elliott + Associates will be project manager. OCU's is in high gear now, with early design accepted and funding in place. Brian Fitzsimmons, also a licensed architect will be project manager, working with Rand Elliott, as he did with Cheasapeak's boathouse. I don't know which other university is planning a boathouse, but there's also suppposed to be winery that, if what I've heard is correct, be under the purview of Elliott + Associates.

05-08-2008, 09:28 AM
OU has already received million dollar pledges from Aubrey McClendon and Clay Bennett and hired a rowing coach some time ago. The sport is already an official part of the athletic department.

I don't think it will be much longer before they break ground as well.

UCO also has a big donation but I'm not sure where they stand.

This is all going to happen in the next 2-3 years.

05-08-2008, 02:48 PM
Well i'm excited for the addition to the river. Let's hope all projects go this smoothly.

05-08-2008, 04:53 PM
I would like to see some variation in the architecture on Boathouse Row. As much as I like Rand Elliott's design of the CHK boathouse, I think some variety and a departure from his modern tastes would really add some great diversity to the area. Hopefully OCU's is a little different and more traditional.

05-08-2008, 04:55 PM
Chesapeake, McClendons give a combined $15 million to OU
By Murray Evans
Associated Press Writer

"The remaining $12.5 million will be a personal gift to the university from McClendon and his wife, Kathleen McClendon.

That gift will benefit the university's Honors College and debate program. It also will fund two major athletic projects, the construction of a boathouse along the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City and a new housing facility for university athletes on the Norman campus."

Chesapeake, McClendons give a combined $15 million to OU | (

05-08-2008, 05:00 PM
I like that they all look similar. I think that it all flows. imo, I think it might look tacky if you have various designs.

05-08-2008, 05:09 PM
I like that they all look similar. I think that it all flows. imo, I think it might look tacky if you have various designs.

I agree. I really like the look of the whole area in the master plan. The boathouses together create a very unique synergy.

05-08-2008, 08:21 PM 'bout those side walks eh?

03-31-2009, 08:03 AM
drove by the other day and there is a ton of dirt work going on.... anybody have any news?

03-31-2009, 08:44 AM
Shoreline modifications, channelization and such. According to a presentation put on at my Rotary club a month or so ago, Rand Elliot will be the architect for OU's boathouse, UCO's and eventually OSU's.

There will be an arena, a starting/finish line house, lighting for televised events, Jazz studio's, and a whole host of other amenities. My company has already been down there connecting charger equipment for the river cruise boats, and look forward to doing much more in the area.

Should be awesome when complete!

03-31-2009, 08:50 AM
wow, i really can't wait, it will be the best rowing destination in the world!

03-31-2009, 09:12 AM
There are even talks about whitewater rapids down past Meridian! Kayaks already show up down here after large rains when the river surges. With a little foresight, it could be really cool! (my shops are down on the river near meridian.)

03-31-2009, 11:07 AM
I wish it were easier to break into...e.g.- I have no idea how to just go take a lesson...

03-31-2009, 12:42 PM
Actually- do just that.
Welcome to (
has info on taking classes (don't have to be a member) and becoming a member, which gives you access to the facility and classes.
Weather's warming up-why not?

03-31-2009, 12:51 PM
I wish it were easier to break into...e.g.- I have no idea how to just go take a lesson...

I have a friend that works at the boathouse.

Welcome to (

If you sign up, use Mary Jo Hope as a referral because they are having a contest to see who can get the most people to sign up. If you talk to her personally, tell her Gary sent you.

Guy Noir
03-31-2009, 03:27 PM
... the remaining 3 boathouses are scheduled to be completed by end of 2012.

I have a particular interest in the OU boathouse. Please tell me that it will be complete before 2012.

03-31-2009, 10:02 PM
The man made rapids would be really cool. Denver features some on the small river that runs near downtown, right next to REI. Another cool thing about it was that just down the river from the man made rapids was sort of a wading pool/shallow area created by the river where lots of people hang out and relax on the shore/grass. But that makes me wonder, is the Oklahoma River clean enough that people wouldnt mind getting in?

03-31-2009, 10:26 PM
The types that would use the rapids wouldn't care about a little dirt. Mom's and their little kids, that's another story.

04-01-2009, 10:10 AM
The types that would use the rapids wouldn't care about a little dirt. Mom's and their little kids, that's another story.

As one of those who would gladly put a boat into a whitewater course often, it's not so much the dirt as the little microbes and other infectious creatures swimming in the river. But ear and nose plugs can work wonders.

04-01-2009, 05:47 PM
I've not heard of any kind of dangerous microbes in Oklahoma waters except for stagnant ponds.

04-01-2009, 08:42 PM
I wasnt really referring to bacteria but more the actual dirtiness of the water. I know the kayaking types wouldnt care less but Im not sure about people swimming or playing in shallow areas of the river. Thats assuming a wading pool/family recreation area would even be created.

04-01-2009, 10:07 PM
I've not heard of any kind of dangerous microbes in Oklahoma waters except for stagnant ponds.

04-01-2009, 10:15 PM
Hopefully that's improved as it was 2 1/2 years ago.

04-01-2009, 10:53 PM
Well, if you fall in the river it's best to take a shower shortly there after.

04-02-2009, 12:15 PM
LOL, I ain't swimmin in it. Just sayin....

04-07-2009, 01:57 PM
noticed a lot of new hotels have popped up and looks like there are quite a few more about to rise up over on meridian, anybody have any details on all of them?