Thoughts about the New Rowing Center

Ward Romer, Men's Crew CoachWard Romer, Men's Crew Coach

For over 25 years Ithaca crew boathouse or facility expansion proposals have been discussed, sometimes seriously . . . sometimes mostly wishful thinking. But last year, when the College formally committed to the project, I thought, "Wow! This is the opportunity of a lifetime!"

Having seen the level of commitment and support by alumni, parents, and friends since the program began at Ithaca in 1968, the coaching staff was undaunted by the fund-raising goal required to make the Tallman Rowing Center a reality. At summer's end, the heavy equipment was already in action, and the waterfront was in temporary turmoil, readying the foundation of our new facility.

Clearly, support for this project has been outstanding, and all those associated with the program, past and present, are grateful for this generosity. Many thanks are in order to the donors, large and small, as well as the Ithaca College administrative and development offices, for all their efforts on behalf of the crew.

The benefits to the program and the College overall will be huge. First and foremost, our expanding fleet of shells and oars will have secure and convenient indoor storage year-round. The space for winter training will be doubled. Bathroom and locker facilities will leap way beyond the "primitive" stage, and showers will be added. The waterfront will be transformed with essential stabilization of the shoreline, landscaping, and a parking lot. The design of the boathouse itself is striking, presenting an appealing and attractive presence for Ithaca College in downtown Ithaca and enhancing the overall image of Cayuga Inlet. In the recruiting competition for outstanding Division III athletes, Ithaca crew will be able to offer a rowing facility second to none.

The Ithaca rowers who embark from the new facility's docks beginning in the fall of 2012 will enjoy advantages not available to those who rowed during the first 43 years of the program. For that very reason, I hope they will accept the challenge of pushing themselves that much harder, as they follow in, and add to, the legacy of all those earlier crews.