Opinion: South end “perch” the right choice for Slate’s next renovation

By April 25, 2019 Opinion
The above photo shows the south end of the Slater Family Ice Arena as it exists currently. A new fundraising campaign would transform this area (Photo by Jessi Renner/BGSUHockey.com).

The BGSU Athletic Department released the latest episode of their “ZiggyCast” on Wednesday hosted by Todd Walker. New hockey Head Coach Ty Eigner was the featured guest along a more abbreviated conversation with BGSU Athletic Director Bob Moosbrugger.

During the nearly-40 minute recording, a breadth of subjects were covered. But, there was one topic that certainly raised some eyebrows. When Walker asked Moosbrugger about what the Falcon hockey program had on its horizon in terms of improvements or goals, the Falcons’ AD mentioned that a $7.5 million renovation project was in it’s “silent” phase that would enclose the south end of the Slater Family Ice Arena.

What’s in a name?

So what’s a silent phase? Also referred to as a quiet phase, it’s the first step of any major fundraising campaign. It’s a time when major donors are consulted about making foundation-level donations to the project, with these donations typically being in the high six or low seven-figures. BG has had a few notable foundation gifts including Bob Sebo whose $3.5 million gift made the Sebo Athletic Center ($11.6 million total cost) a possibility. There’s also Kerm and Mary Lu Stroh’s $7.7 million donation that paved the way for the Stroh Center ($30 million total cost).

The quiet phase is key to showing a campaign’s foundational support and gives way to the “public” phase.

After a certain amount of money has been raised towards the total cost, typically 40-75%, the campaign then enters the public phase where donations of all amounts are solicited from any willing parties.

The Renovation

So what exactly is the University’s plans for renovations? Nothing official has been released publicly by the university (because, quiet phase). However, on the website for JLG Architects, the firm selected by BGSU to handle the next phase of the arena’s renovations, two new photos were added to the project’s page. The images have since been removed, however:

Image courtesy of JLG Architects

Image courtesy of JLG Architects

These are only proposed plans, but they’re certainly an update to the south end which currently features a giant video board and ductwork.

The plans appear to show three suites, an apparent Falcon Club seating area, a full-service bar behind that giant video screen, and twin ribbon video boards.

Again, it’s important to note that these images are by no way a definite plan or perfect representation of the proposed renovations.

The Best Step Forward

I’m the first to admit I can be critical of the department and it’s handling of the hockey program at times. Like all supporters, we want the best for a team that means so much to all of us.

Full marks go to the university for making this its goal for the next round of renovations, however.

Premium seating and upgraded refreshment choices for the Falcon Club members do more than add class to the Madhouse. They provide additional revenue opportunities for a department that’s forced to rub nickels together more often than not. It provides an additional benefit to those who support the Falcon Club. Finally, it provides for an increasingly intimidating environment as fans are set up right over the ice.

Can They Do it?

There have been rumblings that the Falcons’ recent NCAA appearance has reinvigorated the Falcon alumni, and striking while the iron is hot is key to bringing Bowling Green’s barn back to a showcase facility. I don’t want to downplay the money, because $7.5 million isn’t chump change, but the project is small enough to get wide-range support while large enough to make a fundamental improvement to the rink.

While this isn’t, nor should it be, an end-all to renovations, it’s the perfect next step to kickstart the work needed.

Drew Evans

About Drew Evans

Drew is a co-founder and the editor for BGSUHockey.com. When he's not in the press box he makes (legal) drugs at a northwest Ohio compounding pharmacy. Drew is entering his eighth season covering Falcon hockey and has been a fan of the program since his time as a student beginning in 2003. He can be reached on Twitter @BGSUHockeySite and by e-mail at Drew@bgsuhockey.com.