The city of New Haven broke ground in early September 2013 on The Boathouse at Canal Dock, where UNH will house its new Marine Sciences Center. The center is being constructed with generous gifts from alumni Robert M. Lee and Linda M. Hanaway.
The two-story building, housed on a floating 48,000-square-foot platform, will include boat storage on the first floor, and meeting rooms, offices and support facilities, including bathrooms and locker rooms on the upper floor. UNH will have state-of-the-art marine science research and teaching labs, a large wet lab, office space and public education space in the building.
Funds for the Marine Sciences Center were donated by Lee, who received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1978, and Hanaway, who received an MBA degree in 1988, when she was known as Linda M. Wilkins. Both have a love of Long Island Sound and sailing.
The Boathouse will be constructed on New Haven Harbor directly north of historic Long Wharf Pier. Canal Dock was a shipping pier from the 1800s into the 1940s, originally built as the terminus of the Farmington Canal Line to transfer freight from canal barges to sailing ships.
The facility is located close to the dock which houses New Haven’s Schooner, Inc. – one of UNH’s marine biology partners. The S/V Schooner provides youth environmental education programs open to the public and is used regularly by UNH marine sciences students.
“UNH is thrilled with the new partnership with the city of New Haven,” said President Steve Kaplan. “Bringing a portion of our marine sciences program to the new Boathouse presents the University with a wonderful opportunity to provide more field work experience to our students and also expand our current programming and offerings in environmental education and exploration to the general public.”
The construction of the Boathouse at Canal Dock will be funded by the federal and state governments as mitigation for the loss of a historic structure, the Adee boathouse, built in 1914 and demolished in 2009 to allow for the construction of the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge.
“Of the many improvements that we’ve made in New Haven, this latest one holds special significance,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
“For over five decades – since the construction of Interstate 95 along New Haven’s harbor – our city has been cut off from one of its greatest natural resources, the New Haven Harbor. The construction of the Boathouse at Canal Dock takes steps to remedy that and will provide residents and visitors to New Haven the opportunity to enjoy the harbor and water recreation.”
The platform and the building construction will occur in two phases: first the platform and then the building. The platform, in the early phases of construction, will be completed in approximately one year. The Boathouse building is 90 percent designed and will be bid in summer 2014. Construction for the building phase will take approximately 15 months.
“The new Canal Dock Boathouse has been a long time coming,” said U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3), “and it is great to see work begin. It reflects the history and design of the original Adee boathouse, respects the waterfront and benefits the entire community. I am so proud to see this project taking shape; it will strengthen our city and bond us together for decades to come.”
The exterior and the interior of the facility will display interpretive information about New Haven history. Fragments of the Adee boathouse will be incorporated into the building. In addition to the Boathouse and the rebuilt Canal Dock Pier there will be floating docks, including adaptive docks for use by handicapped individuals.
Boats and boating programs of all types, including crew, kayak, canoe paddling and sailing, will have access to the water from the boathouse. The public will have access to the platform for waterside strolls or events.
The Boathouse will be owned by the city but operated by the Canal Dock Corporation, a nonprofit that has already been formed. Similar to other public facilities such as the Carousel at Lighthouse Park or the Walker Skating Rink, the costs associated with running the boathouse will be covered by its revenues.
This story, by Director of Media Relations Karen Grava, originally appeared in UNH Today on September 30, 2013.