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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Sam Darby at 978-975-4152 and email@example.com. There are still some naming opportunities.
The Boathouse will be named for the founder of the program Coach Bill Brown.
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.