Capital Campaign

Dear Friends of Rowing,

Rowing is growing! It is growing around the world, around the country, and especially in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Finn Caspersen had a vision to create a world-class home for rowing on Mercer Lake, and the original boathouse facilities were built through his efforts. Tim Hosea shared Finn’s dream and continued to guide it to reality. During Tim’s tenure as president of PNRA, the Caspersen Rowing Center became an Olympic Training Center and home to the United States National Teams; the Mercer Junior Rowing Club grew from 20 to over 190 junior rowers; our Learn to Row camps and classes have taught hundreds of people of all ages to row; and high school kids from Trenton began to discover the benefits of rowing. Major events hosted by PNRA grew to have a local economic impact of over $10 million.

But Finn and Tim’s dream of a world-class facility is not complete, and it is time to take the next step. With Tim’s direction the foundation was laid to expand the facilities at the Caspersen Rowing Center, to recognize the rich history of our nation’s oldest sport through the National Rowing Hall of Fame and Museum, and to build on this history in developing the next generations who realize the team spirit, fitness and discipline that rowing builds. The expansion will add the indoor workout, locker rooms and sports medicine capacity required for our teams to compete at the top national and international levels;  meeting rooms; boat repair facilities; a home for USRowing; and additional boat storage space.

With this expansion, we will take the next important step in realizing Finn and Tim’s dream.  I invite you to be a part of that dream.

Kris Grudt
Executive Director
Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA)

Purpose and Statement of Need

The proposed $9 million annex will add 30,000 square feet to the existing facility to better support the growth of the Mercer Rowing Programs and other public programs for students in grades 7-12, serve the training needs of the U.S. National Team,  broaden the scope of the Rowing Is Growing outreach program for students in the Trenton public schools, and meet the needs of local collegiate and adult rowers. The annex will also enable PNRA to accommodate the headquarters of USRowing, now located near the Princeton Airport, and house the National Rowing Museum and Hall of Fame, previously based in Mystic, Connecticut, and currently without a physical space.

Partial funding will be from public and private sources.  PNRA expects to break ground in March 2018 with a completion expected by mid-2019.

A few facts:

  • More than 190 junior athletes participated in the 2015-2016 MJRC season, their numbers limited only by the capacity of the existing boathouse.
  • 98% of MJRC graduates go on to college; 75% continue to row on college teams.
  • Since 2001 all of the U.S. Olympic and National Team athletes have trained or been selected at the Caspersen Rowing Center.
  • Beginning in 2014, PNRA is partnering with Special Olympics to train its athletes and host the indoor rowing event.
  • Each year PNRA introduces more than 600 students at Trenton Central High School to indoor rowing.
  • Over 200 Juniors learned to row through the Novice Learn to Row Summer Camps.
  • Mercer Masters programs offer competitive as well as fitness/recreational options to adult members of the community
  • 65% of USRowing’s member organizations are within 300 miles of the Caspersen Rowing Center.

With growing interest in the sport and the recognition of its advantages for developing mental and physical strength and endurance, the Caspersen Rowing Center no longer meets the needs of the constituents who use it on a year-round basis. Each winter, PNRA must turn away 120 junior rowers for lack of indoor workout space. Similarly, limited indoor facilities compel the National Team to find training options off-site. The potential for RIG as a vehicle for raising the fitness and achievement levels of students in the Trenton public schools is curtailed by the limitations of the boathouse.

Further, incorporating popular public programs and high-profile rowing entities under one roof will enable PNRA to continue to attract major events to Mercer Lake, with a proven benefit to local communities and businesses. According to an economic impact study performed by PNRA and the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, PNRA’s regattas contributed nearly $11 million in sales, 5,600 jobs, and $440,000 in tax revenue to the local economy in 2014 alone. PNRA regattas drew more than 75,000 athletes and spectators to Mercer County Park in the year.

“If your criteria for choosing a team sport values above all the work that it takes to excel in it, and the disciplines and virtues that attach to that sort of activity, and absolute trust and dependence upon your teammates, and how it can provide, more than any other sport, the ideal training and testing ground for life’s challenges, you cannot beat rowing.”

                                                                                                          Tom Weil, Rowing Historian


Addressing the Needs

  • New Wing and lobby: Plans call for the 30,000-square-foot Annex to include an expanded training room, accommodating 64 rowing machines and convertible to multi-purpose space; eight-station rowing tank; weight room; two physical therapy rooms; lounge for athletes; catering kitchen; fully-equipped locker rooms for men, women and coaches; heated repair shop; Masters/sculling bay, laundry room, storage and additional public rest room facilities. Significantly, the Annex will house the National Rowing Museum and Hall of Fame and the headquarters of USRowing, the managing organization for the United States National Teams. The glass-enclosed lobby will contain both an elevator and stairs to the second floor and will serve as the entry point for the National Rowing Museum and Hall of Fame Conference Center, the US Rowing offices, and the training and public facilities.
  • Parking: Already inadequate on a daily basis, additional parking will accommodate 128 cars plus an 80-vehicle overflow.
  • Indoor Training Room (3,300 ft.): The new training room will add 64 rowing machines to the 26 now available, enabling the National Teams to train on-site and providing adequate facilities to accommodate the growth of the juniors, Masters and RIG outreach programs. The training room will be readily convertible to meeting space for receptions, banquets, workshops and conferences, creating an additional source of funds to support the day-to-day operations of the Rowing Center.
  • Indoor Multi-Use Room (1,300 ft.): Indoor workout space is always at a premium, especially in the off-season and in inclement weather. Access to an area for stretching and cooling down is critical for the development of rowers, as it will enhance muscle conditioning. A flexible indoor workout area will allow coaches and athletes to focus on the many different activities required to develop each athlete’s ultimate athletic performance.
  • Weight and Conditioning Room (1,300 ft.): As a “power-endurance” sport, rowing requires highly specialized weight training. With a focus on free weights, the weight room will be designed to accommodate the very specific strength training needs of rowers.
  • Physical Therapy Room (700 sq.ft.): Injuries and strains do occur, particularly among the most competitive athletes. The physiotherapy room will be outfitted with an EMS/ultrasound machine, hydrocollator, ice bath/whirlpool, and standard and hi-lo treatment tables.
  • Locker Rooms (2,400 ft.): New locker rooms with shower facilities will accommodate 50 men and 50 women. The Annex will also include new locker facilities for coaches.
  • Masters/Sculling Bays (2,100 ft. + 1,900 sq. ft.): Currently, the Masters and Juniors share a boat bay and smaller boats are stored outside, where they are exposed to the elements. This bay will provide space both for the Masters Program to expand and for the Juniors to benefit from rowing in small boats.
  • Heated Repair Shop (1,800 ft.): This is a critical need. The winter months present an ideal time to address repairs and recondition crew shells. Diligent maintenance not only improves the competitiveness of the rowers, but it also helps to ensure their safety.
  • USRowing Headquarters (2,500 ft.): Currently, USRowing occupies a small office in the Caspersen Rowing Center to accommodate the onsite needs of the U.S. National Teams. Its larger headquarters are located some 10 miles away due to lack of space in the Rowing Center. USRowing is anxious to consolidate its offices in the Rowing Center and plans to do so as part of this expansion.
  • National Rowing Museum and Hall of Fame (5,100 ft.): Previously located in Mystic, Connecticut, the National Rowing Museum and Hall of Fame is currently without a home. Its furnishings and artifacts are in storage. The Museum looks forward to having a permanent dock in the Tim Hosea Annex.
 Joining Our Team

If you are interested in joining our team to make the dream of creating America’s Epicenter of Rowing at the Caspersen Rowing Center, please contact PNRA’s Executive Director Kristopher Grudt at 609-977-1094 or