BGSU breaks ground on its future

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University embarked Thursday (Sept. 3) on what University President Carol Cartwright called “one of the most significant building and remodeling programs in our history.”

The occasion was the groundbreaking for the Stroh Center, BGSU’s future convocation center near Doyt Perry Stadium. When construction is complete in a couple of years, the facility will be home to Falcon basketball and volleyball, as well as the site of new student convocations, graduation ceremonies, concerts and other campus—and community—events.

The president thanked the donors to the $36 million project, beginning with former BGSU trustee Kerm Stroh and his family. Their lead donation of $7.7 million is the largest single private gift in the University’s soon-to-be 100-year history.

Stroh said the 4,700-seat center will give BGSU “one of the best venues in the country. Whether it is a concert, a graduation or a community gathering, our BG friends and family will enjoy a truly first-class experience in the Stroh Center.”

Cartwright also thanked BGSU students, who voted in March to affirm the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) endorsement of a student fee to help fund the center.

“Like the previous generations that gave us facilities like the Student Recreation Center and the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, today’s students have made a commitment to the future of BGSU,” Cartwright said.

Emceeing Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony were two of those students, Sundeep Mutgi, USG president, and Sarah Clapper, a co-captain of the 2009-10 women’s basketball team.

Introducing Athletics Director Greg Christopher, Clapper said he has been “a driving force in keeping Mr. Stroh’s dream of an arena alive and, now, a reality.”

First impressions mean a lot, and the Stroh Center will be a great first impression of BGSU for many people,” said Christopher, adding that the building on the east end of campus will be “a terrific ‘front porch’ for Bowling Green.”

Speaking on behalf of the student body, Joe Jakubowski, a member of the men’s basketball team, said students are excited to watch the arena take shape and expressed his gratitude for the Stroh family’s gift.

“We are humbled by your generosity and your belief in us,” he said. “I promise you that we will take good care of this wonderful building and make you proud of your investment in all of us.”  

According to Cartwright, athletic events will account for only about half of the 200-250 expected “booked” dates for the center. “For the other 100-150 days a year, the building will generate revenue through trade shows, convocations, lectures and concerts,” she said.

The center will also be “the most environmentally friendly building on campus,” the president added. “The building is being designed to meet specifications for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification—one of the most prestigious and recognized ratings for ‘green’ buildings in the world.”

Coming to campus along with the Stroh Center will be other facility improvements, most notably the new Wolfe Center for the Arts and new and upgraded residence and dining halls. “Over the next five years,” Cartwright said, “you’ll see major renovations begin on our academic buildings, and new or remodeled residence halls will be opening as soon as the fall of 2011.

“It’s all part of preparing BGSU for its second century of service—giving our University the world-class facilities it needs to support its world-class programs.”

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(Posted September 03, 2009 )