Temple crew teams have a new home. Credit: Facebook.
Two of Temple University's sports teams slated for extinction were given new life Monday afternoon.
Mayor Michael Nutter and Temple President Neil Theobald announced that the old Kelly Drive-based Temple Boathouse, also known as the East Park Canoe House, will receive a $5.5 million makeover.
“The renovation and improvements to the Canoe House will make it possible for Temple University to return men’s crew and women’s rowing to their former status as varsity sports,” Theobald said.
In December five other teams - which included baseball and softball, men’s gymnastics as well as men’s indoor track and field and outdoor track and field - were slated to be cut on July 1.
The city will contribute $2.5 million, while the Lenfest Foundation, headed by noted philanthropist and Temple University Board of Trustee member Gerry Lenfest, tacked on the additional $3 million. The city said the university will have a "long-term lease."
The funding not only pulls the university's men’s crew and women’s rowing teams back from the brink of elimination, it also gives them a proper home. The two teams were forced out of the Canoe House in 2008 because of its dilapidated condition.
The funding will be used to renovate public restrooms as well as office and storage space for the Marine Police. It will also ensure new lockers and boat storage for the Temple crew teams. A parking lot will also be rebuilt, and the area will be landscaped.
After designs are finalized Nutter said construction should last between 12 and 18 months.
Nutter said the Schuylkill River and Boathouse Row are iconic landmarks, "And it is incumbent upon us to preserve these historical treasures for future Philadelphians."
- The City also made $1 million available to repair a portion of the Schuylkill River retaining wall along Kelly Drive.
- And a $250,000 state grant will be used to install gardens to help manage storm-water runoff along the Kelly Drive recreation trail beginning at the St. Joseph’s University Boathouse.
- Temple will now have 19 varsity sports.
- Temple's athletic budget for 2014 is $44 million.
- The changes are expected to save less than $4 million.