Rowing Center Renovations

Xavier Aniton, Contributing Writer

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Jacksonville, leaving a trail of damages estimated to cost over $85 million.

At Jacksonville University the effects of Hurricane Irma were felt too. Arguably, the area that sustained the most damage was the Negaard Rowing Center.

Clint Calixte, sophomore at JU, assures that flooding was mostly responsible of the damages.

“There was at least two feet of water inside the boathouse, but outside of the boathouse there was about three to four feet,” says Calixte.

The water damage affected all of the ground level facilities, including the docks and the paths leading outside of the boathouse.

Inside the rowing center, the training room, boat bays, and both the women’s and men’s locker rooms were swamped due to the flood.

“The inside of the boathouse was muddy, and there was a lot of debris from trees that fell nearby,” Calixte says.

Renovations started soon after the campus reopened and a number of the athletes participated in the initial cleanup efforts.

“It was low-key depressing,” says sophomore David Disbrow. “We have one of the nicest facilities in the country and to see it in the state it was in really put things in perspective.”

Renovations continued throughout winter break and the start of the spring semester up until early February. JU added all new flooring in the training room, locker rooms, and the boat bays and outside of the rowing center along the route to the docks.

The original flooring in the training room, boat bays, and locker rooms were made of concrete, so they took heavy water damage and mold began to grow.

“It smelled like chemicals for about a solid month,” Disbrow says. “The workers used a big and loud dehumidifier that took the moisture out of the floors and all the miscellaneous ground level things.”

The new flooring is made of rubber. This helps protect the original concrete flooring from any future water damage, makes cleaning easier, and allows boats and equipment to be easily moved around the rowing center.

Along with the new flooring came new training equipment.

According to Jason Cottingham, head coach of the men’s rowing team, the main addition being a number of new ERG bikes. These bikes take athlete’s physical conditioning regimen to a new level.

“New floor and new bikes will help the team out with slightly better training tools,” says Cottingham.

Besides the flooring and new training equipment, renovations have been made on miscellaneous aspects of the rowing center’s exterior as well as new furniture in the team’s game and study room.

These renovations and improvements have facilitated both the women’s and men’s teams training without affecting their performance.

“We’re extremely lucky it didn’t put us out for too long. We were able to turn a negative into a positive.”

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