Kansas University rowing team members hope they soon will have a place to call home.
Head rowing coach Rob Catloth said he expects construction to begin this fall on a boathouse that will provide a permanent meeting, workout and storage space for the team.
"It will add some stability and legitimacy to our program," Catloth said. "The basketball team has Allen Fieldhouse, the football team has Memorial Stadium, the baseball team has their baseball fields, and now we will have the boathouse."
The building the program has in mind will include space for boat and equipment storage, a team meeting room, locker rooms and a medical training room.
Catloth said the boathouse is slated to be built at the north end of Burcham Park, Second and Indiana streets, where the team's rowing dock is now.
But Mark Hecker, superintendent of parks and maintenance for the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, said an exact location is yet to be determined. According to Hecker, the city has an interest in accommodating the request, but plans are still in the preliminary discussion stage.
"The big unknown is where it would be," Hecker said. "Whether it would be free or we would charge them for the land is a question. Ultimately the City Commission would decide that."
Hecker also said the proposed location is in a floodplain, which may pose a problem.
Catloth said the proposed facility design includes necessary precautions to combat the area's risk for flood and high water. Medical and meeting facilities and locker rooms would be built above the floodplain to prevent damage. Boat bays would occupy the lower level, and floodwaters would be able to flow in and out.
"Flood plans will be taken into account with every part of the building," Catloth said. "There's a chance anytime the river can flood. It's part of the history of Lawrence."
If the boathouse becomes a reality, Catloth expects it to be a powerful recruiting tool for his program.
"All the important aspects of team life will happen at the boathouse," he said.
A KU student fee passed in Spring 2006 to fund women's and nonrevenue sports will finance the project, estimated to cost between $3 million and $4 million.