Penn AC is deeply rooted in history, but is always looking toward the future. To that end, the club is in the midst of a complete overhaul of the boathouse. This includes a renovation of the second floor so that it is more functional and is a more desirable event space. The club is a prime location for events, but needs to further distinguish itself as the premier event space on Boathouse Row by addressing the need for a better public entrance, accessibility, a more centrally located kitchen, better bathroom and a larger, multi-purpose event room overlooking the Schuylkill River and adjacent to the existing bar room and trophy room.
Founded in 1871, the original boathouse was constructed in 1878 and is comprised of a two-story stone structure. This included a boat bay and a repair shop on the first floor and a men’s locker room, a bar room and a trophy room with a fireplace on the second floor. An addition was added in 1903, which doubled the size of the foot print and added more boat storage. In 1980, a second floor was added to the 1903 addition. This second floor included a women’s locker room as well as an erg room.
Through the suggestions of the stakeholders and the hard work of the volunteers at the Community Design Collaborative, a three-story design was proposed. The third floor will include both men’s and women’s locker rooms, the second floor will be multi-purpose and the first floor will be boat storage. Not only will this design significantly increase the square footage of the boathouse without creating any major changes to the footprint, it will also make it the premier event space on The Row while creating a much better training environment for all athletes.