Sail Newport Education CenterWhen thousands of sailors arrive at Sail Newport in Newport, RI over the spring and summer months, they will see the new 8,500 square foot building near completion after five years in the making. On March 5, Sail Newport celebrated the milestone of placing the highest point on the new Marine Education and Recreation Center in Fort Adams State Park.

© Matthew Cohen Photography

At the “Topping-Off Ceremony,” Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, state and city officials, and members and supporters of Sail Newport watched as the Behan Brothers construction crew lifted the cupola to the highest point of the educational building, which is scheduled to open in August.

In addition to more programs for more youth and adults, the overall experience for visiting sailors and students will improve. The new center will house Sail Newport’s offices, meeting space for up to 200 people, outdoor classroom space with protection from the sun and weather, public restrooms, and changing rooms and showers.

A $10 million “Campaign for Blue Space” launched last year by Sail Newport has raised significant funding for building costs and a permanently restricted endowment for the expansion of sailing and marine education programs for the public. “We’re a little more than halfway there,” said Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read. ‘We are reaching out to the community for help funding the new educational programs as well.”

Sail Newport’s program expansion plans are also well underway. Read says the expense of sailing and access to boats are two obstacles that have made sailing inaccessible to many. The Campaign for Blue Space, he says, “is committed to removing those barriers to open the sport to those who don’t usually have the opportunity.” For more information, log onto

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