All posts by Brent Darah

RecWell Rewind – Fitness Trail Opening Ceremony

After a year of planning, a ceremony marking the opening of the BGSU Fitness Trail took place on April 15, 1982 at 4:00 PM.

The Fitness Trail was sponsored by the Student Recreation Center and described by Dr. Terry Parsons, SRC director, as “an extension of the fitness program for the University and community.”

Participant in motion while doing a sit-up.
Student doing situps

Participants experienced the cardiovascular benefits of a running program through a self-guided and self-paced outdoor, 1.75 mile long, paved jogging trail, as well as strength and flexibility gains made possible through the use of eighteen intermittent exercise stations along the route. The combination of fitness options was specifically designed to assure a total experience for participants.Participants on the fitness trail.

The Fitness Trail was located on the eastern edge of campus with the start and finish adjacent to the Ice Arena. The course followed the sidewalks from the Ice Arena to the football stadium and around the north side of the stadium. The location also provided runners with the option to use the quarter-mile Whittaker Track. It offered three course lengths, eighteen different exercise stations, and an intensity of nine differing degrees.

The Fitness Trail was open daily from dawn to dusk to people of all ages and levels of fitness. Trail maps and usage scorecards were available at the SRC Office. Introductory sessions were offered April 19-23, 1982.

Learn more about Recreation and Wellness history.


RecWell Rewind – Adaptive Climbing

During the spring 2010 semester, Jerome Gabriel, assistant director of the Outdoor Program, developed and taught a five-week adaptive rock climbing program for special needs and disabled climbers. At the time, this was the only adaptive rock climbing course in Ohio.

The Outdoor Program was able to purchase roughly $1,500 in new adaptive climbing equipment for the program after receiving $2,500 in grant funding from the Youth Enhancement and Support organization of Northwest Ohio (Y.E.S.) in 2009. The new equipment included harnesses, pulleys, ropes, and a specialized adaptive ropes course harness for fully immobile, wheelchair bound youth. The equipment was debuted on October 3, 2009 during the Student Recreation Center 30th anniversary celebration.

Jerome noted that initially, it was challenging to sell the idea of an adaptive rocking climbing course to the special-needs community. However, after inviting county developmental disabilities administrators to campus for seminars on the program, they were able to convince their clients that it was a safe and fun activity.

Five Wood County Special Olympics athletes participated in the first adaptive rock climbing program in April 2010. In reference to the program, Mary Sehmann, coordinator of Wood Country Special Olympics, commented, “we’re going to make it one of our sports because the benefits are so great. It helps with upper-body strength, balance, problem-solving, decision-making, even communication.” Scott Mitchell, lead sports technician for Wood Lane was also impressed and stated, “it really helps their problem-solving skills, especially at the bottom where there are so many choices: Where do I put my hand? Where do I put my foot? You can see the wheels turning: Where do I go next? What do I need to do?”

Ms. Sehmann said that it was exciting to watch people who initially said they couldn’t do it after their first attempt, later reach the top of the wall. “Times are changing. People are trying more things,” she said. “This is a thrill sport, and people with disabilities want to do a thrill sport too.”

Learn more about Recreation and Wellness history.

Learn more about the Climbing Wall.

RecWell Rewind – Climbing Wall Debuts in Spring 2002



On Wednesday, January 23, 2002, the Student Recreation Center hosted the grand opening the $80,000, 35-foot climbing wall.

Assembled in the game room, the 1600 square foot wall was built to resemble a small mountain, reaching 34 feet at its highest point and 27 feet at its lowest peak. The wall catered to all levels of climbing expertise, and was available to both students and staff. Initially, the climbing wall was open 7 days a week from 3:30 PM to 10:30 PM, which allowed it to fulfill campus needs for late evening and night activities. According to Larry Spencer, associate director of the SRC, the new wall would provide the SRC with new programming opportunities, and he stated, “We put it up primarily to give us another programming option.”

ClimbingWall-2002-02-WEBThe University spirit was in full stride at the event as BGSU mascots, Freddie and Frieda Falcon and members of Sic-Sic, BGSU’s spirit crew, showed up to celebrate. All who were present at this event were able to watch Freddie Falcon and two members of the Sic-Sic crew take a turn at climbing the wall.

The SRC offered both a two-hour belay and climbing certification courses at a cost of $15 prior to the wall’s opening. With these certifications, climbers were permitted to use the wall during hours of operation. Bryan Cavins, assistant director of Outdoor Program noted, “The certification process would involve a one to two hour class on rock climbing followed by a test, and the card would have to be renewed each semester.” At the start of the spring semester, 135 students had already signed up to take either the climbing or belay certification courses, and 83 students had already gone through one of the courses prior to the wall’s grand opening.

RecWell Rewind – Original 1946 University Golf Course Constructed

Three men playing golf.

By March 1946 construction of the new University Golf Course was complete and was open for play in late summer after grass had grown on the greens.

Since the University did not have a golf course, the varsity golf team and physical education classes in golf practiced a mile and a half away at the Bowling Green municipal course in City Park. The plan for a University golf course originated with University President Frank J. Prout, Herman Geiser (business manager), Harold Anderson (Athletic Director), Warren Steller (coach), and Dale Sautter (custodian of the physical education buildings). During a University Board of Trustees meeting on January 10, 1944, the persistent demand by members of the Physical Education Department for a golf course was discussed. It was agreed that a golf course would be constructed on the east end of campus where a need for landscaping was also identified.

University President Dr. Frank J. Prout officially announced the plans to construct a golf course on December 13, 1944. He explained that the project would be completed economically since only a small aAerial map of the golf course construction.mount of work would be necessary to turn the existing plot of land into a golf course.

Construction of the new, nine-hole course took about 18 months and was completed by the University maintenance crew with the help of the Navy students stationed at the University who helped remove rocks from the area. It was built on land originally used for farming by the agricultural department up until 1935.

The completed course was not as large as the municipal course at City Park. However, it was 35 to 40 acres and a complete round covered about a mile. The course was also intended to be used as a general recreation area. Sautter explained, “we don’t want it to be thought of only as a golf course…for there are tables and fireplaces there for any of the students to use.” Dr. Clair Powell, associate professor of industrial arts, constructed the fireplaces, and several picnic tables were added. The existing pond located next to the new golf course was also stocked with fish with the advice and assistance of the State Aerial photo of the golf course.Department of Conservation.

Visit the Recreation and Wellness digital timeline to learn more.

See what the golf course offers today.

RecWell Rewind – First Gymnasium Constructed in 1915

Bowling Green State University has valued the health and physical fitness of its students since its founding in 1910. To foster the growth of athletics and physical education on campus, the first gymnasium was constructed in 1915 inside the Administration Building (University Hall) underneath the auditorium (Eva Marie Saint Theatre). It was later converted into a Recreation Hall (c. 1934), and in 1960 the Recreation Hall was turned into the Joe E. Brown Theatre.

Over the years, the former Administration Building, now called University Hall, has served a variety of purposes. In addition to housing the University’s first gymnasium (later referred to as the Recreation Hall), the building has also contained an auditorium, library, classrooms, and special quarters for home economics, industrial arts, and music.

Planning for the construction of the Administration Building began in 1911 when the General Assembly of Ohio appropriated $150,000 for its construction as well as construction of a women’s dormitory (Williams Hall). Proposals for the provisions of material and labor were submitted to the Board of Trustees by October 11, 1912, and the general contract was awarded to The Steinle Construction Company of Fremont, Ohio for a sum of $134,427. A $2,160 contract was also awarded to The Huffman-Conklin Company for plumbing, gas fitting, and sewerage, and a $2,525 contract was awarded to The Bryce Heating and Ventilating Company. All contracts were signed on January 20, 1913 by the Board of Trustees members and the contractors. The trustees and building architects, Howard & Merriam, then staked off the ground in the location of the building.

On July 3, 1913, the Board of Trustees approved the plans, specifications, and estimates for completion of the Administration Building as submitted by Howard & Merriam architects, after which, construction was able to proceed. The original plans included 25 classrooms, science laboratories, a library, a small auditorium, a heating plant, and the President’s offices. However, in 1913, the decision was made to expand the size of the auditorium and include a gymnasium directly underneath. The number of classrooms was also increased, and the science laboratories and heating plant were eliminated. To fund the expansions, an additional $41,000 was appropriated.

By December of 1913, the building’s foundations were complete, the concrete floor of the basement story was poured, and the basement story walls were being constructed. In addition, the steel work for the auditorium floor was in place, and the balcony floors were in the process of being constructed.

A year and a half later, during the summer of 1915, the Administration Building was in use at minimum for Board of Trustees meetings. The final inspection of the new Administration Building was complete by November 20, 1915.

By that time, the gymnasium was also mostly complete, with the exception of the flooring. On August 28, 1915, it was decided to defer the laying of permanent flooring until a later period, and rough boards were laid down temporarily. However, it was noted in the December 17, 1915 Board of Trustees meeting minutes that 1915-16 appropriations including funding for painting outlines on the gymnasium floor at a cost of $4.00, indicating that the permanent flooring had been laid or was to be laid soon thereafter. Also, listed in the November 4, 1915 Board of Trustees meeting minutes was a 1914 appropriation for the purchase of a gymnasium apparatus at a cost of $1,175.

In 1934, after nearly two decades of use, the Board of Trustees made the decision to convert the gymnasium into a recreation hall. By that time, the Men’s Gymnasium (South Eppler) had already been in use for nearly seven years.

In 1960, the Recreational Hall was converted into a theatre. This new theatre was constructed in order to replace the Gate Theatre, which was demolished in 1961. The theatre was dedicated in 1961 as the Joe E. Brown Theatre to honor the Holgate, Ohio-born comedian, stage, and film star.

In March of 2016, the section of University Hall that housed the original auditorium (Eva Marie Saint Theatre) and the original gymnasium (Joe E. Brown Theatre) was demolished during renovations.

Over the years, the gymnasium hosted a variety of sports activities, physical education classes, and events. One of the annual events held in the gymnasium was the Physical Training Demonstration held by the Physical Training Department. The second annual Physical Training Demonstration was held on March 27, 1918, and its purpose was to “acquaint the public with the character of the physical training carried on at the college to safeguard the health of students.” A large number of people attended the demonstration which showed that “the public is intensely interested in this phase of the college work.”

The program was divided into two parts, with demonstrations by participants from the training school (third – sixth grade boys and girls) in the first part, and demonstrations by college girls in the second part. Demonstrations by the training school included “The Muffin Man,” a song and rhythmic game, the “Ace of Diamonds,” a rhythmic game, an athletic memetic drill, an Indian club relay race, and a dance performed by Elizabeth Beyermann (third grade). Demonstrations by the college girls included an Indian Club drill, a Swedish gymnastic drill, a wand drill, maze tag, a “Norwegian Mountain March” dance, a “Blecking” dance, and a minuet performed by the sophomore girls.

Learn more about the history of Recreation and Wellness at BGSU.