With years-long anticipation, a crowd of Girls Preparatory School and McCallie alumni rowers, current and former coaches, current rowers, school officials, parents, and friends and supporters of both schools’ programs gathered to officially open the world-class rowing center to the community.
Following a brunch in the center’s multipurpose room, GPS Head of School, Megan Cover, and McCallie Head of School, Lee Burns, cut the ribbon on the balcony overlooking the gathered guests.
“When I first came to GPS,” Cover said, “one of the things that impressed me most about the school was its rich history of athletics. As an athlete, coach, and a mom of athletes, I know firsthand how important sports are to girls. So it’s vitally important when you compete in a program that demands a lot of you that you have a training facility to support you. I think you will agree with me that this new Rowing Center that houses both GPS and McCallie rowing programs certainly gives our student-athletes an edge.”
Cover expressed her enthusiasm for the facility and the significance of having a building that unites the schools in their rowing pursuits. “I believe the future is bright for our student-athletes and our rowing programs,” she said, “and that today marks a new chapter in our coordinate athlete programs and strengthens the bond between our schools.”
Also on hand to offer his remarks was GPS Board of Trustees Chair, Clay Watson. “When I joined the Board of Trustees more than six years ago, the Rowing Center you see here today was still in the planning phases,” Watson said. “Much forethought went into determining a design and plan that would equally benefit both schools’ programs. As a result, we have a first-in-class structure that’s reflective of our shared commitment to the sport of rowing, and a testament to how brother and sister schools can successfully share space in a way that uplifts both programs to their full potential.”
Situated along the north bank of the Tennessee River at 971 Heritage Landing Drive, the center’s ground-breaking ceremony took place in September 2019 after the existing GPS boathouse was razed.
GPS and McCallie student-athletes have been using the new building as their training hub since spring 2021. The one-of-a-kind 15,000-square-foot facility features a training room that accommodates 48 ergs and other conditioning equipment as well as three large bays for boat storage, a spacious multipurpose room for team meetings and events, separate locker rooms with showers, and office spaces for coaches. Outside the center is dedicated parking and, at the water’s edge, a larger dock to accommodate both teams.
“I believe I am not alone in saying that what we have today is something to be proud of, a place that lifts our programs far above our competitors—those downstream from us and those across the country,” Watson said. “This is a proud day for GPS and McCallie athletes, and for our collective alumni who have returned today to see this dream come to fruition.”
In July, former Division I rowing standout Laura Foster began her role as the GPS Head Varsity Rowing Coach. Foster’s experience includes serving as the assistant varsity head coach for the Princeton National Rowing Association in New Jersey and head men’s rowing coach at the Queens’ College Boat Club and vice-president of the Cambridge Women’s Program. Former GPS rower Maegan Gossett ’08 serves as the Rowing Center Coordinator and an assistant coach to Foster. Sean McCourt has been the Head Coach of McCallie Rowing since 2012.
The shared rowing center was made possible through a strategic partnership between GPS and McCallie.
Seed money provided from the estate of a McCallie alumnus began the project with a total of $5.1 million raised by McCallie; GPS provided the premium riverfront land; Franklin Architects was hired and then, in turn, contracted with Peterson Architects of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to design the building.
The GPS | McCallie Rowing Center’s multipurpose room can be rented by the public. For more information, contact Coach Gossett at MGossett@GPS.edu
For more pictures from today's event, please see our SmugMug page
, where you can download photos for free or order prints for a small fee.