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Draper Riverhouse Celebration

The Draper Riverhouse has been the home base for Northfield Mount Hermon’s rowing team since it opened to students in the fall of 2020. 

Board of Trustees Chair Mariah Draper Calagione ’89, P’20, ’18 and Sam Calagione, ’88, P’20, ’18 gave the lead gift for the new 7,000-square-foot boathouse. Construction began in the fall of 2019 and was completed in March 2020. 

Mariah and Sam Calagione reveal the Draper Riverhouse at the naming ceremony in 2019.

NMH’s rowing program was established in 1965 and outgrew the former Speer Boathouse, which was nearly 50-year-old. NMH offers competitive rowing in both the fall and spring seasons, and each year more than 80 students participate, making it one of the school’s most popular sports. 

“The Draper Riverhouse ties us to the river,” Head of School Brian Hargrove said at the building’s naming ceremony. “It ties us to place in a way that differentiates us from other schools.”

The two-bay boathouse was designed by Daniel Johnson of WaterShed Studios, which won two awards from AIA New England, a regional council of the American Institute of Architects, for the building and its design.

The Draper Riverhouse includes additional outdoor storage for the program’s sweep-boat fleet, as well as several architectural embellishments such as skylights and light wells to allow natural light to enter the ground-floor boat bays and illuminate a wooden Pocock eight hanging in the rafters.

“It’s totally utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing,” said Lou Kinder, NMH girls’ varsity rowing coach. “It’s a place to invite more of the student body down to the river, and it’s definitely a space for the entire campus. I think it will draw more people to the program.”

“The Draper Riverhouse ties us to the river.”
         — Head of School Brian Hargrove

Many NMH rowers have gone on to row in top collegiate programs, and some continue on to compete internationally on the junior, U-23, and senior national teams. In 2016, one NMH crew alumna, Tessa Gobbo ’09, won gold at the Rio Olympics as a member of the U.S. women’s eight boat.

“NMH is where I was introduced to rowing,” said Gobbo, who returned to her alma mater in September 2016 to share her Olympic experience with students. “I received a great education here, and received so much support from everyone. I’m really excited about the new boathouse. The school deserves to have a facility that matches the quality of its program.”

Rowing alumna Liz Donald, one of the schools’ rowing coaches and major gifts officers, said, “This boathouse provides the team with an elite training center, includes multi-functional space on the top floor for erging and training, two boat bays, and gives our fans and spectators a view of our entire racecourse from start to finish.”

See photos of the Draper Riverhouse in action.