The new boathouse was opened at a party for current and former members. The spacious boathouse, which looks a bit like a small hangar, is a short way away from the main building. Inside are metres tall racks to store the boats. The new boathouse provides extra space that Skadi desperately needs.
However, the main reason it was built was to create more space for things other than boats. “Storage space for boats was never an issue”, says Tom van Dijk, a former member who played a significant role in working out the renovation plans. The main problem was a lack of space inside the main building, where the bar, exercise rooms and meeting room have become ever busier over the years.
From 2013 onwards, Skadi started experiencing growing pains. Van Dijk had just joined the rowing association at that point. “The association then started looking into the available options. What should we do? Build a new building? Raze our current one?” Razing seemed the best option, as the building was slowly subsiding. However, demolishing it was impossible, as the municipality had designated it a listed building.
In 2017, when Van Dijk was Skadi’s treasurer, plans were drawn up to renovate the building, but these soon proved to be too expensive. “On top of that, we were caught in a vicious circle. We wanted to build, but we didn’t know what the budget was, and we couldn’t borrow funds as long as we didn’t know what we were going to build.” Eventually, it was decided to carry out the renovation work in stages. “We had to cut costs, and a phased approach was needed. So we decided to build a separate boathouse and to only renovate the main building.”
Now that work on the new boathouse has been completed, space can be freed up inside the storage spaces for boats in the main building, Skadi president Annemijn de Kleer explains. “We’ll be converting the old storage space for the racing boats into an ergometer room, gym, dressing rooms and committee rooms.” De Kleer adds that the new boathouse can fit more boats than the old storage spaces. “It can hold the entire existing fleet of 114 boats, plus a few extra.”
The boats always used to be distributed across two storage spaces: one for racing boats and one for competition boats. While the one for competition boats will remain in use, the racing boats will be moved to the new boathouse.
The renovation of the main building is up next. There is plenty of work to be done, but Skadi members can continue to use the association’s facilities in the meantime. “The renovation work will be phased in such a way that we can continue as normal”, De Kleer says.
Help from former members
The renovation plans will be financed with a donation from the club of former members, a loan from Erasmus Sport and the proceeds of a fundraising dinner for former members, in addition to Skadi’s own funds. The new boathouse has been named the ‘Blom hall boathouse’, after a former Skadi student hall whose former residents were a great help during preparations for the renovation work. In addition to providing funding, the former members were also involved in drawing up the plans. As unofficial ‘Skadi CFO’, treasurer Tom van Dijk worked with president George Brouwer, the ‘Skadi CEO’, to set up a foundation – the Stichting Roeiaccommodatie Skadi – for the organisation of the renovation work. The purpose of the foundation is to make sure the renovation goes according to plan. Brouwer, a former Skadi member, has been involved with the renovation plans since 2013. Between 1969 and 1971, he was on the board of the general rowing club Hades, which merged with the student corps rowing club Skadi in 1977 to form the current student rowing association.
The boathouse opening ceremony involved Brouwer cutting the ribbon, christening the building with Ketel 1 genever and calling out: “Skadi wins the Varsity!” After a loud yell of “Vo!”, both current and former members joined him in ‘the song that every rower knows’: ‘Skadi, geef je laatste gram, voor de eer van Rotterdam!’