For many years, Bainbridge Island Rowing stored all boats and equipment on a dilapidated outdoor tennis court re-purposed as a makeshift boatyard. The rowing shells, oars, safety gear, tools, and training equipment were constantly exposed to the corrosive effects of sunlight, extreme temperatures, rain, wind, and salt air.
“Funny Story: I was talking with some rowers I met at Nationals about our program on Bainbridge Island when one of the rowers said, ‘Your boathouse has a tennis court? That’s cool!’, to which I replied, ‘No… our boathouse IS a tennis court…’
Before a windstorm, we secure the boats with straps. Afterwards, we sweep out the leaves and branches and check the boats for damage. Before practice, there is a line to change clothes in the small park bathroom.
I’m proud to have rowed for Bainbridge Island. I would love to have a rowing center that we can be equally proud of.”
—Thomas Musselwhite, Junior Rower Alum and collegiate rower
Once completed, the Rowing Center will provide secure indoor storage that will protect and extend the useful life of the boats and equipment. It will also provide a gathering place for the rowing teams that is warm, safe, and dry.
Team planning, education sessions, coaches’ and team meetings, as well as boat maintenance work can take place indoors. In addition, exercise and conditioning programs otherwise currently limited by the weather will take place indoors, uninterrupted by the conditions outside.
Regular daily use of the rowing center will also maintain a safe and vibrant atmosphere at Waterfront Park, while also providing the public with a much needed meeting space featuring views of Eagle Harbor.
Through the generous support of the Bainbridge community and several major donors, we have now successfully completed Stage 1 of the construction of our new rowing center. A foundation is in place and working hard – to date we have raised more than half of the $2.9 million needed to complete construction.