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The Andover Crew Boathouse - News - October 2010

The school agreed, in August, to purchase a site in Methuen subject to some approvals including permits. Two teams of architects are working on possible plans for the site and the building. The board of trustees will review progress in early November and hopefully give approval to start raising about $6 million for the project. The goal is to complete it within 2 years. If we could raise the funds and complete the permits in early 2011 we might complete the building in late 2011!

One team of architects is working on the site. Their task is to layout parking for visitors and trailers and to plan the conversion of the current gravel truck parking area to a boat launching site. This is all good news for the wetlands and the wildlife living by the river. The Merrimack is home to the endangered Cobra Clubtail dragonfly as well as nesting eagles. This team also measured out a new race course for the rowing team. Our present day course starts upriver from the bridge and ends by our boathouse. As our Alumni will remember, this provides for an interesting change of water as you come out of the bridge especially if there is an upriver wind. The new 1500 meter course will be almost straight ending at the new site. The whole stretch of water is much more sheltered than the present course. With more open space around the boathouse we hope to invite more schools to compete in the spring and especially provide more competition for the lower boats. There is also the possibility of running a head race for in the fall.

The second team of architects is working on how to convert the building from a truck maintenance and sale dealership to a boathouse. Luckily the service bays are just about deep enough for a racing shell. It looks like there is enough room to provide a much needed service bay to repair the boats as well as six high racks for boats plus space for oars. We hope to be able to provide team rooms for our rowers and visiting schools. For visiting supporters there will be improved toilet facilities. The new site also provides for much better security. It is visible from the road and since it will have access to power and Internet, we will be able to include it into the school security video system.

There will be information about the new plans at all the upcoming Crew events. If you are attending an alumni meeting ask for information about the boathouse. We are trying to arrange to have displays at alumni meetings.

We are also starting to think about a rowing event and party when we open the boathouse. There have already been some challenges thrown down for a race between past B1s.

We are starting to think about how we can help the school to raise the necessary funds. We will need support from Alumni from the past 55 years and from past and present parents. We will need volunteers to encourage their friends to support project. If you feel able to help support the next 55 years of Andover Crew please email Barry Crume '88, Sam Darby P'07, or Chris Maietta '74 c/o

The Andover Crew Boathouse - August 2010

Phillips Academy has entered into an agreement to purchase a property upstream from the I-93 bridge on the Merrimack River. The site will provide better facilities for coaches, rowers and spectators as well as a more shelterd race course. Out thanks to Michael Williams and his team for their wonderful efforts in support of Crew. For a full press release from Andover see below.

Phillips Academy to Purchase Riverfront Property in Methuen

Academy to purchase 5.8 acres along Merrimack River for crew program

August 04, 2010 —Phillips Academy has entered into an agreement to purchase 5.8 acres of property along the banks of the Merrimack River in Methuen. The site at 620 Lowell Street currently serves as the General GMC truck dealership. The completion of the purchase is contingent upon several factors that are currently being addressed.

The Academy plans to refurbish the site for use by its varsity and instructional crew programs. “The development plan will largely be one of restoring the landscape – it is currently a large parking lot – and sprucing up the building to serve as a boathouse,” said Michael Williams, the Academy’s director of facilities. Other work includes the construction of a boat launching ramp and docks. Given the time needed to acquire the necessary permits, he said, it likely will be about two years before any site work could begin, and another six to nine months before the project is completed.

As a new neighbor in the city of Methuen, Phillips Academy looks forward to working with city officials to ensure a productive relationship between the city and the Academy. The Academy plans to explore all possible partnerships with the local community.

Meanwhile, the Academy’s crew program will continue to operate from its current site in Andover, behind the Greater Lawrence Technical School on River Road, until the site in Methuen is ready for occupancy. Officials from Phillips Academy, the town of Andover and the Greater Lawrence Technical School have worked cooperatively over the last 19 years in an effort to find a mutually beneficial solution to the challenges posed by the current riverfront site. As a result of the joint effort, it has become clear that issues such as cumbersome vehicle and pedestrian access and a substandard building cannot be resolved without a significant financial commitment from the Academy.

Given the investment required to resolve the access issues indentified, the Academy’s Board of Trustees asked the administration to seek an alternative site for its crew program, one that would be much less expensive to develop.

Phillips Academy recognizes the significant energy and time dedicated to this initiative and intends to honor the spirit of what was to be a tri-party agreement among PA, the town of Andover and the Greater Lawrence Technical School. The Academy remains committed to ensuring reasonable access to the river for the residents of Andover and will grant the necessary easements for this access prior to any future sale of its property.

End of Press release

Good News Week Fall '09!!
The Crew program has been a major positive component of the Andover experience for students over the past 50 years. This is the primary purpose of the program. In recent years the success of our students and our alumni in major sporting events from the New England Championships, Henley Regatta and the Olympics has attracted positive public attention on the program. Over the years some of our supporters have felt that the school lacked enthusiasm for the program. A little while ago a group of supporters asked the school to support a project to build a new boathouse. Today we can report that the school has responded in the most positive fashion possible.
A new boathouse for Andover Crew on the Merrimack has been included in the list of projects for the next phase of development at Phillips Academy. At a dinner on November 5th, Oscar Tang announced a Campaign for Andover, Building on the Surest Foundation. The campaign calls for raising $300 million to support need-blind admission, our talented and committed faculty, program initiatives and innovation, and campus renewal. Our new boathouse is one of 8 projects listed under campus renewal. To learn more click Campaign. For some time now a dedicated team lead by the facilities group at Andover have been working on preparing this project. Inclusion of our project in this new campaign illustrates the enthusiastic support from the school's leadership for the Andover Crew program. As part of the campaign we hope to raise about $5 million for the new boathouse. Please do your best to support this worthy campaign.
For a video made by Barbara Chase during her recent visit to the Merrimack click Love of Crew .
This public project is the fruit a more private intensive program led by Michael Williams to evaluate the possibilities and cost of providing new superior facilities for our rowers. Our heartfelt thanks to Michael and all his team. We hope in the near future to be able to share more details of the accomplishments of this team. The school has come out in support of Andover Crew, now it is up to us the parents, friends and alumni of Andover Crew to respond

The Andover Crew Boathouse is in need of improvement. This is a major undertaking. Few would be brave enough to tackle this problem. However, Andover rowers are not easily intimidated. Chris Maietta '74 and Barry Crume '88 decided to lead a small group to investigate an improvement program. A project proposal was submitted to the school. The school formed a team to review the proposal. This team took over from the instigators and have been working tenaciously and quietly towards our goal of an improved boathouse. Approval to work on the project has been given by the Board of Trustees. An agreement with the Greater Lawrence Technical School and the Town of Andover covering the access road to the boathouse has been negotiated and approved by all necessary parties. This agreement was the subject of articles in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune as shown on these web pages Article #1, Article #2. Building the new road would be the prerequisite step to any major improvement at the boathouse.
The economic downturn would obviously make it more difficult to raise money but it also probably reduces the project cost. The downturn in the real estate market also opens the opportunity to move to a new site. The school team are actively following all potential solutions. Our thanks to Michael Williams, Director of Facilities, and his team for their dedicated work so far.

The Boathouse Story

In the mid '50s when Coach Bill Brown was crazy enough to try and start up a rowing program in opposition to the wishes of the then trustees, he had to scramble to acquire boats oars and a place to store them. Few people would have had the determination and tenacity to create a program from nothing. He scrounged up the boats from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. The boats had seen better days. His boathouse was a corrugated iron shed closer to the dam than our current boathouse. It can be easily seen from the river or after a gentle walk from the current boathouse.
It survived 25 years as the program took hold and became one of the better programs in New England. In 1979 a tragedy struck. Some mindless vandals broke into the boathouse and attacked the boats with hammers. They destroyed everything. This catastrophe would have crushed less sturdy hearts.
Coach Brown started the rebuilding and the task was carried on by Coach Washburn. The Greenway family came to the rescue with a generous donation that made a new boathouse possible.
The "new" Boathouse was built to support the program as it was 24 years ago. Security rather than beauty was the primary concern. The fact that the boathouse has resisted many attempts at illegal entry is a tribute to the success of the design.
Over the last 27 years the program has grown and arguably outgrown the boathouse. While other schools have built new purpose designed facilities, our coaches have squeezed their program into the existing facility and persuaded the students that they were made of tougher metal then their pampered competitors with their spring trips to Florida, their winter rowing tanks and their fancy boathouses with showers, lockers and warm crew rooms. It may even be partly true. For sure the Andover kids that train in the icy rain in early spring and sit shivering on the buses until they return to school for a shower and a little dry warmth are probably less fazed by the cold spring rain than their pampered opponents from Exeter, Kent and St. Paul's. It could also be argued that they probably suffer more colds, flu and bronchitis than their opponents.
Now in the 51st year of the program the kids are proudly carrying on the tradition and passion of Andover Crew. It is time we refurbished and improved the 1980s boathouse to match the 21st century program in honor of everyone that has gone before and our recent rowers including our New England Champions and Henley competitors.


The current Andover boathouse on a good day


The 1983 "Bill Brown" and "James C. Greenway" dedication plaques.


The Exeter Saltonstall Boathouse


The Andover Boathouse

Click here for pictures of our Boathouse.


The Boathouses of others

Click here for pictures of boathouses at other schools.

Over the last few years many of the schools in the region have updated their boathouses. Here we have compiled a series of images from these boathouses. Given our requirements for security we might have to compromise a little on the aesthetics.

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The Boathouse plan

Completed- The initial proposal offering to work with the school to develop a plan to improve the boathouse facility.

Our little team of Chris, Barry and Sam submitted a proposal to the school requesting consideration of a project to improve the Boathouse. We conceived of expanded access road, a large parking area for supporters and visiting crews and a larger boathouse with more boat space, a workshop area, better toilet facilities and an open space for training and general meetings. We thought we would not include showers or locker rooms since these are better situated back at campus. The coaches also thought exercise machines or rowing tanks would be more useful on campus than at the boathouse.
The school convened a meeting to review the proposal and the initial response was positive. The school has been actively researching the project. Those of you who have visited the boathouse in recent months will have noticed markings on the property and other signs of investigative work that would normally be a prerequisite for a building plan. The board will have to consider any project in the context of the larger school capital plans.
We have had several volunteers offering to help with legal, architectural and fund raising issues. At this stage it appears as though the school would handle the building project provided the finance is forthcoming. Barry Crume has volunteered to lead our funding raising effort. Once we have board approval, we will need volunteers to help the school raise the funds. Probably between $5 million and $8 Million.
It has been suggested by an influential alumni that we arranged the weather for the reunion in 2006 to impress upon everyone the need to improve the facilities to support what is undoubtedly a world class rowing program. It has also been suggested that the opening of a new boathouse would be a perfect time for another crew reunion.

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