U and board pass plan for boathouse

Than Tibbetts

University athletics officials received approval from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to begin planning for construction of a boathouse for the women’s rowing team and men’s crew club.

Associate Athletics Director Regina Sullivan, who is in charge of the rowing facility project, said the park board’s action allows the University to move forward with discussions about planning the construction of the boathouse. The rowing teams are currently housed under a temporary tent.

The women’s rowing team is the second-largest varsity sport at the University, behind football, and the only one without a permanent facility.

Sullivan said one of the next steps is to work with the park board to lease the land to build the boathouse.

Rochelle Berry Graves, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioner at large, said she expressed concern after the meeting about the University behaving proactively enough to ensure safety at the proposed facility. She specifically cited the need to have adequate lighting and a phone available to call 911 in an emergency.

University officials said they are talking with the University Police Department about options for emergency services. Lighting issues will be discussed when University officials begin thoroughly planning the boathouse.

The rowing program has been hoping for a permanent facility since it became a varsity sport in 2000.

University officials said they have indicated in the past that building a women’s rowing facility would help demonstrate a commitment to Title IX, the federal gender-equity law.