By Lindsay Lorenz
PBN Staff Writer
BRISTOL ‚Äď After raising $1.7 million in gifts and pledges during a weekend auction, Roger Williams University has announced plans to build a new waterfront sailing center on its Bristol campus.
During Saturday‚Äôs 10th annual Captain‚Äôs Cup Regatta, held at the Herreshoff Marine Museum, Richard L. Bready, chairman of the university‚Äôs board of trustees, donated $1 million to the effort during a live auction. After Bready‚Äôs donation, a $500,000 pledge from a sailing family from Florida followed, in addition to a $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor who phoned in the donation. These gifts were followed by multiple, smaller gifts from the 200 people in attendance.
The university, which hopes to break ground on the sailing center in March, estimates the project will cost $3 million. Combining a previously raised $393,000 with Saturday‚Äôs donations, so far the university has raised about $2.1 million.
‚ÄúOur objective is to raise the entire $3 million cost of the building through philanthropy, and on Saturday we witnessed an outpouring of support unlike anything I have seen at RWU,‚ÄĚ said RWU President Donald J. Farish. ‚ÄúDonors clearly share our view that the Sailing Center has transformative potential for a waterfront school.‚ÄĚ
Upon completion, the sailing center will offer a 6,000-square-foot home for the university‚Äôs sailing team, which achieved the No. 1 national ranking for the first time in May 2011 and has held the top spot intermittently since then.
The center will provide boat storage, team offices, locker rooms and a repair shop, in addition to community space that can be used to host events.
ACTWO Architects of Wayland, Mass., is leading design efforts for the Sailing Center.