BGSU adds $2.5 million to ice arena renovation

(Updated 11:35 a.m. 7-30) The future of the Falcon hockey program and the Bowling Green State University
Ice Arena appear to be a bit brighter today.
University president Dr. Carol Cartwright said she is "confident that the funds necessary to ensure
the future of the BGSU hockey can be raised" in a letter sent to those who attended the recent BGSU
hockey alumni golf outing.
The university has committed $2.5 million from its capital fund to the renovation of the arena,
Cartwright also said in the letter dated July 28.
With that commitment, a total of $4 million is available for arena improvements after the university
received $1.5 million from the state earlier this summer.
The state money is part of the capital budget and by law cannot be used for general fund expenses.
Cartwright said in the letter the $2.5 million was "a show of good faith" by the university
towards the future of the arena.
She met with former Falcon hockey players and supporters of the program before the golf outing to discuss
the future of the program.
The university hired a national fundraising consulting firm earlier this summer to see if enough money
could be raised by a university campaign to support the hockey program. The results of that study are
expected by the end of August.
No details regarding a timetable of any renovation project were mentioned in the letter.
But Jack Vivian, who heads the arena committee and has his own rink-management company, already has been
developing plans to renovate the arena.
The university originally had announced a $4 million renovation of the building would begin this past
spring, but put the project on hold because of the overall state of its budget and the rising cost of
borrowing money.
The project was going to be used to replace all of the equipment used in making the ice. The project also
was going to seal the building and repair the arena?s gutters, downspouts and roof to stop the arena?s
numerous leaks. Also scheduled to be worked on were the air handling system and the lighting.
The university formed separate committees earlier this year to study the future of the ice arena and the
athletics department .
The committees were formed to help the university and the athletics department develop solutions for
their large deficits.
The final reports from those two committees haven?t been released.
Earlier this year the school announced that it was considering eliminating the Falcon hockey program,
which won an NCAA championship in 1984. It said the hockey program is guaranteed to exist through the
end of next season.
The original $4 million renovation of the arena was part of an $8 million improvement project announced
last fall by athletics director Greg Christopher.
The other $4 million was supposed to be raised by the Falcon hockey program and the university through
private donations.
Hockey alumni and supporters of the program have been hesitant to donate to the program because of the
university?s failure to commit to the program long-term. Christopher acknowledged that problem in a June
interview with the Sentinel-Tribune.
Potential donors have been asking for a ?money back guarantee? of sorts for their donations if the
university eventually decided to eliminate the hockey program. Christopher said ?that issue is being
addressed? in that same interview.
Falcon head coach Scott Paluch resigned June 30 to accept a position with U.S.A. Hockey.
Paluch, who was entering the final year of his contract, was 84-156-23 overall in seven seasons with the
Falcons and his teams never had a winning record overall.
BG has finished last in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in three of the last four seasons. The
Falcons were last in the league last season with records of 11-24-3 overall and 8-19-1 overall.
Assistant coach Dennis Williams was hired to replace Paluch was only given a one-year contract, further
fueling the speculation the program would be dropped.
Construction of the arena started in the spring of 1965 and the building was dedicated on Feb. 25, 1967.
Some of the equipment in the building is the original equipment.
The arena has become one of the worst in college hockey and is, in part, responsible for the decline of
the Falcon program.
The arena has been largely neglected by the university since the addition of the seats at the north end
of the arena for the 1989-90 season. New boards were installed and the lightning was improved two years
The addition to the northeast corner of the building was paid for with private donations. That project
included new coaches offices; players lounge; and equipment, training and workout areas.