GPS, McCallie Break Ground On New Rowing Center

Thursday, September 19, 2019
GPS and McCallie board members break ground on new combined rowing facility.
GPS and McCallie board members break ground on new combined rowing facility.
- photo by contributed
September 13, 2019 marked a momentous occasion for the GPS and McCallie rowing programs. Heads of both schools along with trustees and other school officials ceremoniously turned dirt at the location of the new rowing center that will house both GPS and McCallie programs.
 
Dr. Autumn A. Graves, GPS Head of School, opened the event by recalling some of the highlights of the school’s 25-year rowing history, the first girls’ varsity program in Chattanooga, including the signing of 24 girls to go on to row in college.
A current GPS senior has verbally committed to row for Duke in 2020, and five from the Class of 2019 are currently rowing in colleges across the U.S., including Dartmouth and the University of Virginia.
 
“Today we are so grateful for the foresight of our 1945 Board of Trustees that purchased the tract of land above us and later acquired this valuable riverfront property,” Graves said.
 
The ceremony took place on the foundation of what was once the GPS Visions Center, a building constructed in 2000 that housed the school’s rowing program as well as meeting space for events. Demolition of the building took place earlier in the week.
 
Lee Burns, McCallie Headmaster, spoke next about McCallie’s rowing program, which has seen more than 800 young men compete over its 29-year history, and thanked UTC for allowing the boys to launch from “the barge” for years.
 
In 2012, McCallie’s former headmaster, Kirk Walker, worked with Elliott Davenport and other McCallie board members to find a location along the Tennessee River to build a rowing center for the school’s team.
 
The requirements for the building included easy river access and a reasonable driving distance from McCallie. Eventually conversations began about building off the strong coordinate program already in place between them and their sister school, GPS, and housing both programs under one roof.
 
“The McCallie and GPS Crew teams had traveled to many regattas and competitions together, and this seemed to be a natural opportunity,” Burns said. “When I arrived at McCallie in the summer of 2014, and simultaneously Dr. Graves was beginning her tenure at GPS, we decided to explore what this unique partnership could mean for two outstanding and established programs.”
 
A committee comprised of McCallie and GPS board members was formed and, by 2016, all committee participants were in agreement that housing both programs at GPS was a viable option.
Seed money was provided from the estate of a McCallie alumnus to begin the project; Rob Taylor then stepped down from the GPS board to avoid any conflicts of interest and used his expertise in overseeing development projects. Franklin Architects was hired and then in turn contracted with Peterson Architects of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to design the rowing center.
 
Davenport was next at the lectern, having already donned a blue hardhat, and spoke for both himself and fundraising campaign co-chair Glenn Morris. He expressed his gratitude to GPS for providing the ideal location along the banks of the Tennessee River and to the donors who have given $5.1 million to build the facility. “These individuals gave because they believe in the transformational impact this sport will continue to instill in the current and future young men and women of McCallie and GPS,” he said.
 
Then bright blue shovels were brandished by individuals key to the project’s success to turn dirt on the site of the new rowing center.
 
In closing, both school’s current board chairs, Jim Ruffin of McCallie and Dr. Becca Stimson of GPS, said a few brief comments, speaking on behalf of their respective boards of trustees.
 
“As a McCallie alumnus, I am proud to say, as we embark on our 115th academic year, that our leaders, trustees, alumni, and friends of this great school continue to rise to the occasion and meet each challenge with resolve,” Ruffin said.
 
Stimson said the new building presents an opportunity for the students from both schools to work together in a coed community that extends beyond their current coordinate programs. “We anticipate the student-athletes will encourage each other and challenge each other in ways that benefit both teams,” she said.
 
“Our hope is this Rowing Center opens more doors for each of them should they choose to compete beyond their high school teams. And that people in Chattanooga and across the Southeast will look to GPS and McCallie as true examples of rowing programs that set the standard for excellence.”

Stephen Cook Is New Hamilton Heights Christian Academy Head Boys Basketball Coach; Zach Ferrell Goes To Eastern Florida State College

Chattanoogan Senior Spotlight: Ooltewah Tennis

Chattanooga's "Scenic City Summer Showcase" Moved To Aug. 6-9


Stephen Cook has been named the new head boys basketball coach at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy. Zach Ferrell is taking a new position as assistant coach at Eastern Florida State College. ... (click for more)

here. The Ooltewah tennis program has three seniors who have dedicated a combined 11 years to the Owls' tennis program. Katelyn Lee and Hope Clark have led the girls' team, while Chandler Cate ... (click for more)

Chattanooga's "Scenic City Summer Showcase," a popular softball tournament, has been postponed. It was originally planned to occur from June 4-7. However, Hamilton County's government recently ... (click for more)



Prep Sports

Stephen Cook Is New Hamilton Heights Christian Academy Head Boys Basketball Coach; Zach Ferrell Goes To Eastern Florida State College

Stephen Cook has been named the new head boys basketball coach at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy. Zach Ferrell is taking a new position as assistant coach at Eastern Florida State College. Officials said, " For a small private school located inside the heart of Tennessee, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (HHCA) has continued to deliver vastly oversized results in its ... (click for more)

Chattanoogan Senior Spotlight: Ooltewah Tennis

here. The Ooltewah tennis program has three seniors who have dedicated a combined 11 years to the Owls' tennis program. Katelyn Lee and Hope Clark have led the girls' team, while Chandler Cate is the lone senior on the boys' squad. "They are all aggressive, competitive, and committed on the court," said Ooltewah coach Ken Buchanan. "They have been a joy to coach." Katelyn ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Continues Upswing In Coronavirus Cases With 73 More, Including 49 Hispanic; No New Deaths In Hamilton, Memphis, Nashville And Knox

Hamilton County on Thursday reported 73 more positive COVID-19 cases. That brings the total of confirmed cases in the county since the virus broke out in March to 843. There are still 13 coronavirus patients in Intensive Care in Chattanooga hospitals. Deaths remain at 15. Officials said of the 71 new cases, the Hispanic population accounts for 49 cases. Of the total cases ... (click for more)

County Unemployment Rates Reach Historic Highs Across Tennessee

Statistics released on Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development show a staggering increase in unemployment for each of Tennessee’s 95 counties in April as many businesses closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The unprecedented and historic spike in unemployment impacted some counties more drastically than others, but no area of Tennessee ... (click for more)

Opinion

Departure Of Drs. Gruver, Devlin Is Disturbing

The recent departure of Drs. Gruver, cardiologist, and Devlin, neurologist, is disturbing. They have impeccable credentials, among the “best in class” regarding advancements in medicine and delivering excellent healthcare to patients. Chattanooga’s healthcare requires continuous retention and recruitment of quality physicians. High quality physicians attract more of the highest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Reclose? Are You Nuts?

I am every bit as mournful as every other teary-eyed citizen who genuinely cares in the United States that our COVID-19 death rate has surpassed 100,000 people. We’ve got 50 state governors doing 50 different things and, believe this, every last one of them is desperate to find the right thing. We’ve got the best and brightest scientists collaborating with one another. The White ... (click for more)