Category Archives: Ice Arena

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.

Student Employment with RecWell Is More Than Just a Job

Are you looking for a good resume builder but also could use some extra cash in your pocket? If so, working for the Department of Recreation and Wellness may be the right choice for you.

According to the BGSU Career Center, there are more than 4,300 students that work on-campus.  The Department of Recreation and Wellness offers opportunities to students that are looking for a job on campus. RecWell employs between 200 and 300 of these students to work at the Student Recreation Center (SRC), the Ice Arena (IA), Perry Field House (PFH), and Forrest Creason Golf Course.

Working for RecWell can be beneficial for students because there is a chance to grow and advance within the department. Employees are rewarded with Rec Bucks when they go above-and-beyond their call of duty and there is a Student of the Month award given out monthly to the department’s hardest workers.

Student employment jobs are put into a category that signifies their rank within the department. Jobs can range from Level 1 to Level 4. Level 1 positions are the entry level jobs, and the highest positions with the most responsibility are put into Level 4.

If you’re just starting a job with RecWell, Level 1 is where most employees will begin. Some of the jobs included are: PFH Attendant, SRC Floor Attendant, and IA Skate Shop Attendant, among others.

Andrew Clair, an employee at the SRC, has made the most of his time working with RecWell.

“It’s been a great place to work,” explained Clair. “I’ve met a lot of cool people and I really enjoy what I do. I started the job this summer and I’ve already learned so much in my short time here [with RecWell].”

Those who perform exceptionally well on the job can receive a promotion to Level 2, which includes managerial positions throughout all departments within RecWell. Level 3 positions include managers of the SRC and PFH among others. Supervisor positions, the highest position a student employee can hold, are categorized in Level 4.

Each level holds more responsibility than the next and at the same time offers more of a reward.  Not only will holding a higher position within the department teach you more about working in a fast-paced environment, you will also earn more money for your work.

“This [job] will look great on my resume,” said Clair. “It doesn’t hurt to add as much experience you can in any department on campus and I think working at the Recreation Center will only help me in the future when I start my career. For students who have no work experience, I recommend trying to find a job with RecWell.”

If a practicum, internship, or graduate assistantship is what you need, RecWell offers excellent opportunities as well.

For more information, check out the Employment Opportunities page on the RecWell website.

Stars on the Ice – Retrospective

This page was originally created in 2011 at the beginning of a research project involving the BGSU Ice Arena when the facility was part of Recreation and Wellness.

Bowling Green State University’s Ice Arena was opened on February 25, 1967 and in the past 44 years of operation; it has seen its share of memorable moments and prominent skaters. Due to financial issues in 2009, the BGSU Ice Arena was almost shut down and the hockey team lost. However, the community and University joined hands and together saved the arena and hockey program through a combination of state money and private donations.

As a result of almost losing the arena, many people have looked back into its history and remembered the “glory days”. The BGSU Development Office has established a campaign and foundation to shed light on the amazing history of the BGSU Ice Arena. Link here to learn more about the BGSU Ice Arena and help Bring Back the Glory.

Joe Fumia at the BGSU Ice Arena

This blog series, authored by Joe Fumia, is a tribute to the great names who have graced the halls of the BGSU Ice Arena and shared the ice over the years. The idea is to highlight some of the greats who have learned and honed their skating skills at Bowling Green State University and gone on to create a legacy for themselves.

Some of the greats to be featured in this blog include:

The blog series is featured twice a month

More Ice Arena Renovations Set to Begin

Skaters look forward to the ice arena reopening on July 18 to continue with the Learn to Skate program or just to cool off from hot summer days.  At the same time, skaters may witness an aesthetic transformation of key areas inside the ice arena. The bids for the renovations arrived June 1 and the projected starting date is July 1. The completion date of the entire project is anticipated to be mid-September.

To be completed during this phase is a new skate shop, skate rental, concession stand and office space. Quite noticeable for individuals who enter the updated ice arena is the creation of a new pedestrian traffic flow.  The public may find the space more inviting by easily being able to browse the skate shop and buy food or drink from the concession stand.  The ice arena staff want their facility to be more customer friendly and allow those who come into the building to feel more welcome.

The completed concession stand is to have a small kitchen area. The foods offered include hotdogs, pizza, nachos and pretzels, with soft drinks, water and PowerAde beverages.  “We are going to try some other food items and see what works and what doesn’t work,” said director of the ice arena Jamie Baringer. “Breakfast food items are planned as a healthier alternative and in competition with fast food restaurants.”  All foods at the concession stand are planned for quick service.

New space is being created for offices to be in close proximity to the main entrance and each staff member. This new office area is where the current skate shop is occupied. Additionally, the ticket window booth is expanding into an open office area. “The new office arrangement is conducive for a better working environment,” Baringer said.

The updated skate shop is to continue marketing clothing apparel such as t-shirts, sweatshirts and skate related items for purchase. For the skate rental area, 500 pairs of brand new Riddell skates have been ordered. The current skates at the skate rental have hundreds of miles on them and it is time for their retirement. “The old skates are being sent to inventory and disposed of as how they see best,” said staff assistant Laura Dunn. “They gave us their loving use, but are now so bad that they have become a liability.”

Old rental skates

Approximately one-third of the skates ordered are hockey skates. Some skaters feel they are more comfortable, easier to skate with or they just want to be on hockey blades.  Figure skates are exceedingly more popular at BGSU with around 335 pairs purchased.  Learn to Skate programming starting with youth size six skates through adult size skates is a determining factor.  However, there are two types of figure skates – the traditional skate and the recreational skate.  The skating industry is leaning toward the recreational skate for rentals. Recreational skates are a soft-side skate, so it fits more like a tennis shoe.  “If individuals are placed in recreational skates, they can ease into skating a little better,” said Baringer. “They may be hooked into life-long skaters if the skate feels comfortable.”

Skaters who come to the ice arena this summer are going to watch it transform into a user friendly facility. They get to observe firsthand the progress of the improvements.  The updates are creating a more enjoyable experience for all visitors of the ice arena.

Stars on the Ice – Dancing Duo

Over the past weeks, we have explored the hockey greats that have graced the ice at Bowling Green State University.  These hockey legends are not the only prominent names to have roots here in bowling green, no there are others.  In order to find these individuals, we must look to another sport, the sport of Figure Skating.

Scott Hamilton is pretty much a household name when it comes to figure skating but did you know he was raised here in Bowling Green Ohio and skated at the BGSU Ice Arena for many years?   At the age of 13 Scott began training with Olympic coach Pierre Brunet however he was almost forced to quite in 1976 due to the high cost of training.  He was encouraged to keep training through financial assistance from Helen and Frank McLoraine.

Alissa Czisny began skating at the age of 1 ½ here at BGSU’s Ice Arena and quickly showed that she had a gift on the ice.  Her and her sister Amber created quite a tandem on the ice over the next years as they competed throughout the country at different competitions.  In 2010, Alissa was ranked #1 in the world for the ISU Grand Prix season.

Now let’s take a look at their impressive resumes;

Scott Hamilton

  • 4 consecutive U.S. Championships (1981-1984)
  • 4 Consecutive World Championships (1981-1984)
  • Gold Medal – 1984 Olympics
  • Inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame – 1990


Alissa Czisny

  • 2010-2011 Gran Prix Final Champion
  • 2 time U.S. National Champion (2009,2011)
  • 2007 Bronze Medalist
  • 2 time Skate Canada Champion (2005,2010)
  • Ranked 11th in the World by the International Skating Union