Everyone wants a low cost boathouse, unless they have endless money, like some
of the famous universities. We are in process of restoring an old 2 story
warehouse into a boathouse, and many "hidden" expenses pop up, e.g., having to
replace ancient plumbing and gas lines, etc.
Your question can be better answered if you have reached the point where you
know what you want in your "small" boathouse. For example, how many bays do
you need? Will you build your own racks or purchase metal sliding racks from a
firm like Hill Co. (warehouse facility accessories) Do you intend to have a
heated building with locker rooms, showers, toilet facilities (all must meet
standards for Disability fed. laws), workout rooms, etc., or do you want a
basic "pole-barn" boat shed, without insulation and heat? Do you intend to try
and build your own dock(need special dock permits from Corps of Engineers, your
City--varies from state to state--ck it out) or to have it done by a
professional, like the excellent Sullivan units, and so on? Do you have the
support of the river redevelopment people? Will land be bought or will it be
given to you by the city in the form of a dollar-a-year lease type arrangement?
Have you thought of running a community-center city teach rowing to youth
program? Are you non-profit status?
Having a youth program, starting a PR campaign with videos about rowing,etc.
can stimulate interest by banks, corporations, etc. to give money for your
If you contact USROWING, I recall they had a good article on some new
boathouses that were being built a few years ago. One was built mainly by the
club members, except for certain complicated aspects of the construction, and
it really looked beautiful.. The staff can get it for you from their magazine
We found that nothing is simple about building a boathouse these days. It took
us at least 5 years to acquire what we now have--and we are still not
finished. It is a challenging and frustrating--but very worthwhile task.
By the way, Kevin Sauer, Coach of UVA did a great job in building an
inexpensive, nice looking facility. If you call him, I'm sure he would give you
basic info about his construction plans.
Regardless of your choice, your group should look around for an architect who
is willing to give you very preliminary sketches and advice for free, or for a
small fee (No offense to any professionals, but please be very, very careful
here. One can find that you are stuck with 1000's of dollars of arch. fees
unless a contract is signed up front, so you know just what you will be
charged. Get a friendly lawyer on your group to review any contractual
arrangements--early in the game! Actual working, operational plans cost 1000's
and 1000's of dollars. Do you have any contacts with large construction firms.
In the beginning try and find someone who is willing to give basic
advice/consultation either free or at a special price for a nonprofit. You
also need some advice on what must be done to make sure the land is pollution
free and also is safe --adequate --to support a building. Engineers and feds
must ck out the land-site.
Hope this helps, and please feel free to email specific Q;s if I can be of
Gordon L. Pizor
Head Coach and Associate Director
Wilmington Youth Rowing Association
Gordon L. Pizor