U.S. Olympic officials and civic leaders applauded Devon Energy and Oklahoma City University's partnership for their commitment in assisting Oklahoma City become an international venue for rowing, canoeing and kayaking during the June 1 groundbreaking event for Devon's Boathouse on the Oklahoma River.
Devon's $10 million, two-level boathouse, designed by Rand Elliot of Elliot + Associates, will total 33,000 square feet. The first level will consist of an event center and boat storage, while the building's second level will bring a high-performance training center for some of the nation's most elite athletes. The boathouse is scheduled to open in 2010.
"The magnitude and scope of the Devon Boathouse has prompted plans for additional boathouses and other racing facilities along the river's east end," Mike Knopp, OCU rowing coach and executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, said.
He said the Oklahoma River is being considered for official designation as a U.S. Olympic training site.
Glenn Merry, chief executive of USRowing, and David Yarborough, chief executive of USA Canoe/Kayak, also joined the celebration to share their excitement for the Oklahoma River as it evolves into one of the world's premier venues for aquatic sports.
Merry said Oklahoma City has quickly distinguished itself as a national focal point for the sport.
"Outside of Philadelphia, a traditional center of rowing for more than a century, no other location in the United States has succeeded in creating a boathouse row, and no location has attempted to do so as a united training site for future Olympians," Merry said. "Oklahoma City and Devon Energy have raised the torch for future Olympians to follow."
The Devon Boathouse also will serve as an anchor for community activities and youth rowing programs. Meeting rooms, event spaces and workout facilities will be available to the general public.