The Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS) broke ground Monday on a new boat storage and maintenance facility that will also house their headquarters, education rooms, and provide a controlled environment for volunteers and staff to maintain its fleet of power and sailing boats.

SEAS chairman, Leslie Kohler, staff, board members, The Vollrath Co., LLC representative, Jos. Schmitt Construction and LJM Architects break ground on 6/27/17.

SEAS chairman, Leslie Kohler, staff, board members, The Vollrath Co., LLC representative, Jos. Schmitt Construction and LJM Architects break ground on 6/27/17.

Through a donation from The Vollrath Co., LLC, SEAS was able to obtain a 1.75 acre parcel near the corner of Superior Avenue and 18th Street.  With donations from other area supporters SEAS has been able to jump-start this project.

“We are excited to be able to finally reach the point in our organization’s development where we will not just maintain our fleet in our own facility but have designated space for education and to house our staff,” according to Leslie Kohler, Chairman of the Board of SEAS.   “In the past, SEAS has had to contend with offices and equipment spread out across the city and county in rented or borrowed space not suitable for many repair and maintenance projects, certainly no room for public education,” she added.

“Putting this under one roof will add efficiency to the operation, foster public access to boating and promote camaraderie among our staff, volunteers, students and the public,” Geoff Rudolph SEAS Operations Manager said.

The building was designed by Erik Jensen and LJM Architects.  “It will be a 26,250 sq. ft. single story structure with a mezzanine, and large enough to store the entire fleet with room for growth,” according to Jensen.  “Design features include a band of translucent glazing at the second-story height to allow for generous day-lighting of the entire interior, large outrigger supported overhangs and an aesthetic blend of strong horizontal and vertical lines.  The building will be finished in “gallery blue” siding to blend in with the buildings in the area.  The new building will house the administrative offices, a shop and space for boat building and maintenance, a classroom space, a separate room for Sheboygan Sea Scouts Ship No. 50, and storage for SEAS entire fleet in one location,” Jensen said.

“As a lifelong sailor, Air Force jet pilot, MIT graduate, and successful businessman, the late Terry J. Kohler understood the multiple disciplines of sailing and boating in general.   He understood how learning those disciplines through sailing you can become better at decision making and problem solving, helping you to be more successful throughout your life.  Terry’s vision was to provide access to learning boating skills to as many people and future generations as he could through the formation of SEAS,” explained Jerry Baumann, Vice President of Operations for Windway Capital, Corp.

 “This location and design was developed out of years of searching and planning. Balancing the needs of the organization, the budget, and the community led us to where we are today. This will be a major step forward in providing quality boating programming to the community,” said Matt Wierzbach, Program Director for SEAS.

Jos. Schmitt Construction Co., Inc. is providing general contracting services and expects construction of the new headquarters to be completed in the fall of 2017.

“We believe that water related activities are fun, build character, develop mental and physical acuity and should be enjoyed by everyone,” says Leslie Kohler.