Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, announced today that the van Beuren Charitable Foundation (vBCF) has awarded a $500,000 grant to Sail Newport’s Campaign for Blue Space, which will support a new education and recreation facility in Fort Adams State Park.
The vBCF is a philanthropic family organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique characteristics of Newport County and improving the quality of life for its residents. Since 1986, the foundation has focused on enhancing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations working in three main areas: landscapes and the built environment, education and health.
Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read says, “Sail Newport is honored to have the support of the Board and Staff of the van Beuren Charitable Foundation. The vBCF is dedicated to strengthening the special qualities which make Newport a wonderful place to live. This new building will provide the local community as well as sailors from around the country and the world with a first-class portal to the fabulous on-the-water education and experiences awaiting on the blue space of Narragansett Bay.”
Funding from vBCF will support the new center, which is designed by local architect Mohamad Farzan of NewPort Architects. Farzan combined design elements inspired by research on historic military buildings on the site with the modern efficiency of a sustainably-sourced and engineered building.
The new LEED-compliant building will rely extensively on renewable energy, produced by upwards of 70 solar panels on the building’s roof. Energy-efficient fixtures and systems will be used throughout as will eco-friendly and recycled materials, both on the interior and the exterior of the building. In addition, a rain harvesting system will store water for landscape irrigation and flushing the public restrooms.
The new building, located on Fort Adams Drive in the mid-park area of Fort Adams State Park, is currently under construction with completion expected in July of 2017.
“We couldn’t do this without incredible support from our community – especially Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed. Her support of the upgrades at Fort Adams State Park is integral to the public’s enjoyment of the park.”
Along with the support of Senator Paiva Weed and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM), Read also credits the Sail Newport board of directors, families, generous donors and volunteers who have fueled the organization’s ability to create this new center.
With the new building, Sail Newport will have multiple new classrooms, year-round public restrooms, administrative offices, an expanded dock office and outdoor classrooms and meeting spaces.
It is Sail Newport’s goal to partner with area non-profit organizations and educational institutions to expand its educational program to a year-round basis and become the leading hub of marine education and recreation. Also, the new headquarters will enhance Sail Newport’s ability to attract more world-class sailing events to Rhode Island, which will boost the State’s economy with tourism and other spending.
The vBCF grant pushes Sail Newport close to the $6,000,000 mark towards its $10,000,000 goal for the Campaign for Blue Space. In addition to supporting construction of the Center, The Campaign for Blue Space will support community programs and grow Sail Newport’s endowment.
Sail Newport is located on land leased from RI DEM and has been working with the state leaders and the National Park Service for the design, project planning and permitting process.