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OKC Becoming an International Rowing Destination
U.S. Olympic Officials will Join Civic Leaders Monday to Break Ground on the Devon Boathouse, home of OCU Rowing OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City will move closer to becoming an international venue for rowing, canoeing and kayaking when U.S. Olympic officials and civic leaders join at the Oklahoma River Monday to break ground for the Devon Boathouse. Construction of the $10 million, 33,000-square-foot boathouse is beginning this spring and will open in 2010 as a high-performance training center for some of the nation’s most elite athletes. The Devon Boathouse, home of Oklahoma City University rowing, will be among the most comprehensive and innovative facilities ever built specifically for the sport of rowing. The boathouse will provide facilities for USRowing's new High Performance Training Center to be located in Oklahoma City. “The magnitude and scope of the Devon Boathouse has prompted plans for additional boathouses and other racing facilities along the river’s east end,” said Mike Knopp, OCU rowing coach and executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation. “This is a very exciting time for the Oklahoma River, which is being considered for official designation as a U.S. Olympic training site.” Knopp will join Larry Nichols, Devon Energy chairman and chief executive officer; Ron Norick, Oklahoma Riverfront Redevelopment Authority chairman and former Oklahoma City mayor; and Gary Marrs, Oklahoma City vice mayor to celebrate construction of the building. Glenn Merry, chief executive of USRowing, and David Yarborough, chief executive of USA Canoe/Kayak, also will be at 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 for young people. Meeting rooms, event spaces and workout facilities will be available to the general public. The historic Boathouse Row in Philadelphia has become a center of activity where the community comes to walk, run, ride bikes and spend time outdoors by the Schuylkill River. The same type of excitement and activity generated by rowing in Oklahoma City will further enhance the Oklahoma River as a community gathering place and a site for family recreation.