Ice arena project heating up: Stalled by pandemic, Slater renovation plan restarted

A lot has changed since Bowling Green State University unveiled plans to renovate Slater Family Ice Arena.

The pandemic hit about a month after BGSU asked for $2 million in order to finish the project. At the time, the project was expected to be a $7 million project.

BGSU Athletic Director Bob Moosbrugger said the athletic department is talking with companies involved in the renovations to learn how much the project will cost now.

He also said they are talking about the scope of the project. Once the department figures out if they need to invest in the functionality or the operations of the arena at all, they will then decide how to improve the arena.

“We’re expecting the numbers to have escalated. Until we have those numbers, we couldn’t say we’re going to do this first or that first,” Moosbrugger said.

The stadium has seen some minor renovations so far. Most of the renovations have been to improve the operations or repair the arena.

“We’ve done $10 million plus of renovations in the building, but no one can see it because it’s all underground,” Moosbrugger said.

One of the things that was presented back in February 2020 was a new suite club and a new suite level.

Moosbrugger said improving the fan amenities is something they want to do. A lot needs to be discussed before they can settle on which fan amenities can be added or improved.

The pandemic has also affected the amount of donations coming in for the renovations.

Moosbrugger said they had talks with different BGSU alumni about donating toward the ice arena. The talks stalled during the pandemic, but have heated up again, he said.

The hope is to have the new numbers set in a month or two in order to decide which direction the project goes in.

Once the department has a direction for the project, they can sell that direction to potential donors, Moosbrugger said.

“We as a university need to sit down and come up with a direction that we think is best for the ice arena,” he said. “Then we need to sell it to our donor prospects that have been waiting for this information.”

Moosbrugger said he believes they have $5 million invested toward the renovations. The Slater family has invested $2 million. Moosbrugger said the remaining $3 million is from donations and other sources.

The investment into the ice arena is more than an investment in the BGSU hockey team. Moosbrugger said the investments into the ice arena are for the Bowling Green community.

“Those improvements that we will talk about in the scope will not only help BGSU hockey, but it’s going to help youth hockey and figure skating. It will help with the ability to have external events come into the ice arena as well,” he said.