Bainbridge’s Design Review Board gets look at proposed rowing club facility

The oars are in the water now for the possibility of paddling forth in constructing a new Waterfront Park Rowing Center.

The oars are in the water now for the possibility of paddling forth in constructing a new Waterfront Park Rowing Center.

Bainbridge Island Design Review board members met with several members of the Bainbridge Island Rowing during a pre-application session Monday.

Over the last several months, board members from the rowing club met with architects to discuss design plans for a two-story building that could possibly be built at the Waterfront Park, said Tom Coble, a Bainbridge Island Rowing Club board member.

The proposed building will be situated on the western-most portion of the park, which is currently an abandoned tennis court used by the nonprofit club.

The city council approved a new 50-year ground lease to allow the rowing club to plan and design a permanent location for the high school and master rowing teams. Learn to Row programs for the Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation Department will still be sponsored by BIR.

“We were pleased,” Coble said of the meeting. “I think the fact that we were able to at least talk with the board and express what we are planning on doing [is good]. They ask really good questions.”

The goal of the meeting was to hear expectations on both sides, Coble said. Currently, the rowers are exposed to the elements during meetings. The center would offer an indoor space to house rowing-related activities, including offices.

A public hearing is set from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 23 at city hall.

Coble noted that would be a “discovery opportunity” where the rowing club will get feedback from community members about the possibility of a rowing club center.

Building and operating costs will be the responsibility of the club, Coble said.

“Once the permit is pulled, that’s when we will start actively trying to do fundraising,” he said.

No details have been released on the expected cost of the building as contractors are in the process now of detailing that. Coble expects there will be more answers on costs in the next six months or so.

The current building plans would include boat storage on the ground floor, work benches, a laundry facility, and a bathroom. The second level would have a lobby, locker rooms, office spaces, a non-commercial kitchen, a multipurpose space and a storage and weight room. The second floor would have entry from Brien Drive. The proposed two-story building is expected to be approximately 12,000 square-feet.

Currently, the rowing team has 120 junior rowers in the spring. In the fall, 110 show up. The master rowers group usually has between 60-80 participants.

For more information on the rowing club, visit www.bainbridgerowing.org.

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