The Caspersen Rowing Center, home of the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA), functions as the home of the world class training site for the United States Olympic Rowing Team, and accommodates the rowing programs for several local schools. The facility has hosted a number of major regattas of national and international importance, including the U.S. Olympic Trials. Besides offering nationally significant training facilities, PNRA plays an important role in the local community by providing opportunities for area youth to excel in the sport of rowing. Expansion of the Rowing Center will accommodate the headquarters of the U.S. Rowing Association, the home of the U.S. National and Olympic rowing teams, and the National Rowing Foundation’s Hall of Fame and Rowing Museum.
VNHA’s involvement with the Caspersen Rowing Center began in 1998 when we were responsible for design engineering and obtaining all land use approvals for the initial construction of the facility. In 2006, again VNHA was tasked with design engineering and land use permitting for an expansion of the facility. The current Project involves a 16,400 sq. ft., 3-story expansion to the existing Rowing Center. Site improvements include upgrade of the existing entrance road, construction of additional parking, construction of a boat storage area, and new boat ramps.
Because the Rowing Center is located on the shores of Mercer Lake, the Project site is encompassed by environmental constraints that include freshwater wetlands, wetland transition areas, the New Jersey Flood Hazard Area (FHA), the floodway, and the FHA Riparian Zone. As with the previous projects, VNHA was tasked with obtaining a freshwater wetland Letter of Interpretation (LOI) for the Project site, establishing site constraints for use in the Project layout/design, obtaining freshwater wetland and FHA approvals from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), and preparing/coordinating with our client, Mercer County and the NJDEP, a comprehensive mitigation plan to compensate for proposed FHA Riparian Zone disturbance. Key to development of the Project layout/design was VNHA’s sensitivity to the public park lands and sensitivity to the environmental conditions that exist on the site.
Because of the severe constraints that exist on the site, the VNHA’s Environmental Department was instrumental in assisting with the Project planning to ensure the layout/design complies with NJDEP regulations and resulted in successful attainment of approvals.