Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District was abuzz with live music and excitement Thursday afternoon as the University of Central Oklahoma celebrated the start of construction on the Central Boathouse. The project has long been in the works and is seen as yet another milestone for the Oklahoma River and the Boathouse District. “We are so pleased to be a part of the story of Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma,” UCO President Don Betz said. “We are here today not to say, ‘We are looking for more donations for this project,’ but, ‘Gentlemen, start your engines.’” The new addition is expected to be complete in one year.
The $7 million, 18,000-square-foot facility will not only house boats and oars, but it will double as a music and art venue. Supporting local artists and bands is something Betz said he is looking forward to. Mike Knopp, executive director of the Boathouse District, spoke Thursday about other future developments on the way. A whitewater course, rowing course renovations, a new buoy system and a zip line across the river are some of the new things to come. “There’s not going to be more adventure and world-class water sports to be had anywhere like Oklahoma City,” Knopp said as the UCO rowing team stood behind him.
The rowing team members were given commemorative yellow oars to mark the occasion. Thursday’s celebration came to a close with speakers and guests signing a beam that will be part of the construction project. This will be the third boathouse in the district.
-Kyle Schwab, The Oklahoman Staff Writer