|The groundbreaking ceremony for the OU Rowing Training Center was held April 16, 2013, for the state-of-the-art, on-campus facility for the University of Oklahoma rowing program.
Site prep began last week and construction equipment was ready to begin building the 24,000 square foot facility as the ceremony took place. Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione, Head Rowing Coach Leeanne Crain and senior captain Nikki Furmanek spoke, while the ceremonious "first dig" was done with oars in place of shovels.
"This facility will have a major impact on our varsity rowing team," OU president David L. Boren said. "It will continue to help make the University of Oklahoma one of the most comprehensively competitive athletics departments in the nation. This new facility will be a welcomed addition to the state-of-the-art athletics facilities available to all of our student-athletes. I want to thank the Board of Regents for approving this project. As a former member of my residential college crew when I was a student at Oxford, I am especially excited about this project for a great team sport."
"This is an exciting day for us to get to this point," Castiglione said. "We appreciate all the members of the rowing team and what you're doing to represent the University of Oklahoma in such a special way."
The 24,000 square foot facility is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2014 and will cost $6.5 million. The team's on-campus training has been at Memorial Stadium since the program's inception in 2008-09.
The state-of-the-art project represents the latest addition to an impressive list of infrastructure additions and improvements by OU Athletics on the Oklahoma campus.
"I want to thank everyone who has put in hours and hours of work creating the vision and designing this state-of-the-art facility that will be our home," Crain said. "This facility will provide our team with all the amenities and training tools to compete for championships. Every square foot of this facility will be put to use and enjoyed by future generations of rowing student-athletes. We are so fortunate to be here at the University of Oklahoma and be able to have the best of the best."
The building will house a cutting edge, 16-seat "moving water" rowing tank, used to simulate on-the-water training indoors. The facility will also feature a 2,740-square foot workout area, sports medicine and hydrotherapy room, team room and locker room in addition to office and meeting spaces and storage and laundry areas.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this facility will continue to raise the bar for our rowing team," Furmanek said. "It will give us the competitive edge to take this program to the top and allow us to train at a very high level all year long."
The facility will give the team a place to train when it isn't practicing on the water at Oklahoma City's Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River.
Outside of organized team practices, the training center will give student-athletes the opportunity to practice and continue to improve in an individual setting away from the water.
Now in its fifth season as a varsity sport, rowing is the largest women's team at OU. The sport has been sanctioned by the NCAA since 1997 and is one of the fastest growing collegiate sports in the country.
The Sooners are in the midst of their most successful season in the program's young history. They have received votes in each of the first four USRowing Coaches Polls and made conference history when they earned the first four conference Boat of the Week honors in the season's opening three weeks. The spring schedule features races against top teams from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12 and SEC.
For behind-the-scenes updates and news on the Sooners, follow @SoonerRowing on Twitter and @ou_rowing on Instagram.
Ground Broken on Rowing Training Center
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 16, 2013