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Specialty Contracting -- Navy Rowers Get an Oar Up on the Competition

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Home to the Navy's Men's and Women's Rowing Teams, the newly renovated Hubbard Hall located at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis provides athletes with one-of-a-kind facilities to meet their training needs.

The original three-story historical building was built in 1930 for about 40 rowers. The current rowing program, consisting of approximately 180 rowers, welcomed a modern and expanded facility to meet current needs.

Historical preservation standards required the contractor team to maintain the facility's exterior appearance. This requirement challenged the team to increase and update the functions of the building while maintaining the exterior facade and footprint of the original building.

Design and installation of a high-speed rowing tank to give the Navy's crew team an opportunity to practice inside was a prime objective. The Naval Academy specified that the rowing tank must be able to achieve a water speed of 12 knots, making it the fastest such tank in the United States.

"The Naval Academy did extensive research and visited the facilities of top rowing program to see what was out there," says Vic Bonardi, vice president of preconstruction and design-build services at Forrester. "They wanted a world-class rowing tank that would achieve higher speeds than anything in the country."

Forrester Construction, Rockville, Md., explored several options and selected a design by Stillwater Design, Chelsea, Mass.

The concrete tank includes flow straighteners to ensure high-speed water flow with limited turbulence. The team provided these features at no additional cost to the client. The specified water speed was achieved through trial and error, providing expensive but smoother paint finishes with FRP tanks and increased motor sizes.

The team worked hand in hand with the crew teams and coaches to fine-tune many aspects of the tank, including shimming up the rowing stations and adjusting the height of the oarlocks to tailor the tanks more closely to the rowing team's actual practices.

US Naval Academy Hubbard Hall Restoration and Modernization Annapolis, Md. Key Players

General Contractor: Forrester Construction Co., Rockville, Md.

Owner: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, Washington, D.C.

Lead Design: Muse Architects, Washington, D.C.

Structural/Civil Engineer: Dewberry, Baltimore

MEP: EDG2, Bethesda, Md.

Submitted by Forrester Construction Co.

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