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Rowing has been a strong program at Andover since the 1950s. We owe our program to the Coach Brown and the first intrepid souls who dared to master the Merrimack. Every generation since then has done their bit to support and grow the program to the amazing experience available to today's young rowers and coxswains. As parents, friends and alumni we should give thanks for the passion shared. Now it is our turn to plan forward for the students not yet infected with the rowing passion. We must build for their future.
Keep the passion alive for another 55 years!
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Boathouse NewsCongratulation to all that help in this great efforts. The boat house building effort is completed and we have moved in.
A HUGE thank you to the Andover Crew family of Alumni, past parents and present parents. We started out 2011 with approval for a boathouse project. The goal of raising $6.5 million in the prevailing economic climate seemed daunting. Oscar Tang took the lead in the campaign assisted by the fund raising staff of the school and a group of volunteers. The campaign included mailed information, emails, phone calls and personal visits.Here are some links for detailed news.
Boat House Dediction
More Dedication Info
New Boat House
New Boat House
Oscar Tang is a product of Andover who returned to lead the school with great wisdom to become even better than most thought possible. His "youth from every quarter" mantra ensures that every place is filled with the best possible student. Our lives are enriched because Oscar has touched us all through his involvement with Phillips Academy. Best of all he is an Andover Crew rower. Thank you Oscar Tang.
Click here for Oscar Tang '56: An Andover Life
Latest news (August 16th. 2012)is that all the utilities have been installed, the sheetrock and floors completed an the final painting is in process. The outside cladding is being installed and the topsoil is in place ready for planting.
The fixtures and fitting including the boat racks will arive in a few weeks and the docks will be installed by the end of the month.
More pictures of this phase are posted on
Boathouse update pictures
April 29th: Latest news is that the new utilities have been installed in the boathouse and the new concree floor has been poured inside the building.
Outside the expansion parking areas has been leveled and the work had stated on concrete foundations for the dock ramps.
April 23rd: The reconstruction of the renovated boathouse in Methuen is well underway. Underground plumbing is in and the slabs on grade have been poured. Erection of new structural steel begins next week.
April 4th: We have added more pictures to the link below. The first batch of pictures showed the site after the removal of all things of the dealership. Now the latest show construction of the sub floor and utilities as well as the work to remove the top soil layer and re-grade from the boat house to the river.
March 10th: The contractor has started to prepare the river bank for the installation of the new docks. This inlcuded removing some trees for access the docks. We have added a few more pictures:
Clearing access to the Merrimack
Making ready for the new docks
March 3rd: The dream is real. Work has started on the new site. The site has been fenced. All the surface garbage has been removed. The inside has been cleared to a bare empty sad metal shell.
Dozer and digger ready to start
Inside has been gutted to an empty shell
Front view of boathouse
Construction has officially started
More pictures of this phase are posted on
Boathouse update pictures
Great News February 2012
A HUGE thank you to the Andover Crew family of Alumni, past parents and present parents. We started out 2011 with approval for a boathouse project. The goal of raising $6.5 million in the prevailing economic climate seemed daunting. Oscar Tang took the lead in the campaign assisted by the fund raising staff of the school and a group of volunteers. The campaign included mailed information, emails, phone calls and personal visits.
The building season in New England is spring to fall. The building program is projected to take 6 months. We needed to have most of the 6.5 million in hand to start the project. Thanks to the fund raising efforts and the generosity of the Andover Crew family we have raised $5.5 million as of January 20th and the school has agreed to allow the program to go ahead.
We still need to reach the final goal of $6.5 million for completion. Ideally we would like to close on this goal before we start building in March. If you need help or assistance in making a donation please contact Ann Harris at 978-749-4312 and email@example.com or Sam Darby at 978-975-4152 and firstname.lastname@example.org. There are still some naming opportunities.
There are three major parts of the project. The building, the site and the docks. The building has operated as a truck dealership. The shell will be stripped down, cleaned and refurbished to house a workshop, boat bays, coach facilities, changing rooms for visiting crews and a large multi-function room that could host an erg practice or training course or an alumni dinner. The site is in sad shape and needs extensive work including re-creation of wetlands, re-grading and tarmac. Last but not least we have to build docks out into the Merrimack to launch our racing boats.
We hope to have all this completed by the fall. If all of our gods smile on us we should be able to throw a party in early October to officially open the boathouse. Mark your calendars now! Email us if you have suggestions for how we might celebrate the over 50 years of rowing tradition at Andover when we dedicate the new boathouse. Also email if you have suggestions on how to decorate the great room in the boathouse. The boathouse will be a utilitarian racing facility but we want to wrap it in the rowing tradition of Andover. The great room seems to be the best place to do this. We might have team pictures, oars from great races or audio of coxswains’ calls. All suggestions welcome!
It has been a long 5 years since the idea of a new boathouse was first broached. When Coach Brown was asked for his advice he said "just start the program and don't worry about when it will finish". We are sad that we lost him before we managed to finish but it will be a fitting home for his active positive spirit that is embodied in Andover Crew.
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The Boathouse Plan
The Andover crew tribe is on the move! ...Or will be sometime soon if we can complete on some permits and raising a very big chunk of money for the new boathouse. On November 7th. 2010 the Board of Trustees gave the go ahead for the next phase of design work in preparation for building once we have the permits and money.
We have been in our current boathouse since 1983 and it is now time to upgrade. The current boathouse was built like a concrete bunker for security. It has protected us well from the type of mindless vandalism that cost us the entire fleet of boats back in the 1970's although more recently it was broken into by more capable thieves who stole some launch motors and GPS watches but were good enough not to damage any of the boats. The new boathouse will not be a concrete bunker. The security should be better because it is on a main road and will have lighting and cameras linked into PA security.
The better security will allow us to leave the coach launches in the water during term. This will translate into about 15 minutes more water time every practice. The larger boathouse will allow us to expand the program by another couple of boats for boys and girls if we have the coaching staff. There will also be space for ergs so that we can do proper prerace warmups and a space for the rowers to stay out of the rain and cold.
Parents will still have to brave the New England weather to watch the races but at least there will be better parking, toilets and electricity for hot drinks. There will be a large room in the boathouse for crew meetings, indoor ergs and to house artifacts that represent the amazing tradition of rowing camaraderie and excellence created over the past 55 years. If you have any photographs, old uniforms oars or other memorabilia you you like to donate or at least allow us to copy or photograph please email email@example.com.
For 55 years through 3 different boathouses, about 1500 rowers and about a dozen coaches Andover Crew has created an experience that stays with everyone for a lifetime whether they rowed in the 1st or 6th boat. Every rower remembers the people they shared blisters, agony and joy with on the Merrimack and the coaches that encourage them from novice to master rower. We have been a competitive force in New England from the very first years of the 50s with Coach Brown entering Interschols and traveling to Henley to these past few years with Coach washburn and Coach Green where B1 ad G1 have been winning New England Championships and competing successfully in the post season.
It is time to lay down the foundation for the next 55 years with a new boathouse to ensure the program's continued success. In 1983 one family, the Greenway family, donated the whole boathouse, this time we need the whole Andover Crew family to donate the new boathouse.
This is a satellite map history of the upriver migration of Andover Crew from the first boathouse in the Lawrence canoe club in 1955 to the metal hut around 1960, the current secure concrete building in 1983 and now hopefully to our new home.
This new home will allow us to enlarge the program to 120 students, leave the launches in the water for more water time during practice, provide a more sheltered race course and bathroom facilities for the supporters. This new building will help us expand and sustain the passion of Andover Crew for the next 50 years.
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The Andover Crew Boathouse - Older 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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 early beginnings in 2007
We started serious discussions in 2007 to work on the idea of a new boathouse.
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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The Andover 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 Andover Boathouse
Click here for pictures of our old Boathouse.
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The Boathouses of othersClick 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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