July 2000


Officials, rowers greet UT-Battelle tower gift merrily, merrily, merrily

Oak Ridge’s presence in the sport of rowing got a boost last month through a UT-Battelle gift toward a finish-line tower for the Oak Ridge Rowing Association. UT-Battelle’s gift of $30,000 toward the tower, to be located on Melton Hill Lake, will be matched by the city of Oak Ridge.

A designer's conception of the finish-line facility on Melton Hill Lake.
Oak Ridge Mayor Jerry Kuhaida said the UT-Battelle gift was the kind envisioned when the city allocated $140,000 to the seed money project to upgrade the rowing facilities. “We are thrilled that UT-Battelle has joined us in the goal of enhancing Oak Ridge’s reputation as a great rowing facility,” Kuhaida said.

Melton Hill Lake is nationally admired by rowers for its flat water and bucolic surroundings and has hosted a number of regattas over the years.

“Each regatta attracts 500 to 2000 rowers to Oak Ridge. The new tower is certain to help us attract more rowing events and more revenues for the city,” Kuhaida says.

The new tower also will be an asset for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols rowing team, which uses the Oak Ridge facility for dual meets and tournament regattas.

Joan Cronan, UT director of Women’s Athletics, said the new tower will be “a great boost” to the UT rowing team. “Improving the Oak Ridge facilities will attract outstanding athletes as well as national regatta competitions to East Tennessee, she said.”

The gift is part of UT-Battelle’s new program of “legacy investments” for the Oak Ridge region. Bill Madia, CEO of UT-Battelle and ORNL director, says the gift “represents a lasting investment in Oak Ridge’s future.”

“By helping make Oak Ridge one of the nation’s premier rowing facilities, we can help generate tax revenues for the city and at the same time support the University of Tennessee rowing team. The gift represents UT-Battelle’s belief that we are a partner in the community’s growth,” Madia said.

“Legacy investments” are intended to have tangible and lasting benefits to the community. The gift for the rowing tower followed a $90,000 gift in June from UT-Battelle to the UT Academy for Math and Science.