Designed as a Front Porch to Campus, the Riverfront Facility Reinforces the College’s Competitive Rowing and Sailing Programs
Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, dedicated its new state-of-the-art Hodson Boathouse in a public ceremony September 22, celebrating a successful multi-year capital campaign that elevates the College’s nationally competitive rowing and sailing programs.
Designed by HGA to support the varsity rowing and sailing teams and student recreation, Hodson Boathouse serves as a “Front Porch” for the College’s evolving waterfront campus that includes the existing Truslow Boathouse, the multi-purpose Lelia Hynson Pavilion, and planned future educational amenities along the Chester River.
“The Hodson Bathhouse is part of a campus vision to create an educational and recreational destination along the river for the entire college community,” said d’Andre Willis, Principal at HGA. “This is a gathering place for students to relax at the riverfront, enjoy recreational activities such as kayaking along the river and nearby creeks, and take part in competitive varsity watersports programs.”
The 9,200-square-foot boathouse includes a multipurpose space with roll-up glass doors opening to the river; a 35-seat team classroom; men’s and women’s locker rooms; cardio workout room with rowing machines; an indoor 16-station sweep rowing tank; offices for coaches and waterfront staff; and a 3,675-square-foot wraparound front porch.
A foundation of the project, the porch is a shady and welcoming destination for people arriving from land or water. The porch provides rain-sheltered space to relax, as well as to gather teams and recreational groups for quick instructional huddles. The corner of the porch closest to the dock is designed with seating-sized steps cascading to the ground, where students can wait for friends, or coaches can hold a quick meeting before or after practice. College events will take place in the multipurpose space, as well as spill out onto the porch and the landscape.
The existing Truslow Boathouse has been converted to equipment storage and shop space.
The boathouse supports the College’s commitment to environmental stewardship, with an energy-efficient geothermal well system for heating and cooling, LED lighting, rain gardens, and recycled plastic decking.
“Water is one of the most important elements of the site for the College because of the focus on the Chester River as an area of study,” Willis said. “Water usage and protection of the watershed through rain gardens and shoreline mitigation plantings were identified early on as primary concerns for project performance. The project is designed for resiliency in the face of rising sea levels and changes to the watershed by raising the building up on piers.”
HGA is a national multi-disciplinary design firm rooted in architecture and engineering. Founded in 1953, we believe that enduring, impactful design results from deep insight into the people and passions that animate each unique environment. HGA has a specialty practice in sports and recreation facilities. Among the firm’s recent projects are the Dulles South Multipurpose Center in Loudoun County, Virginia; Cornell University Rowing Center in Ithaca, New York; the University of Minnesota Women’s Rowing Facility in Minneapolis; and the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center in Milwaukee.
About Washington College
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. Washington College formed the Varsity Rowing Team in 1967 and the Varsity Sailing Team in 1987. Support for Hodson Boathouse came from more than 150 donors, including former team members and other alumni. The boathouse in named in honor of legacy donor The Hudson Trust. For more information, visit Washington College.