|Location||1535 East Wooster Street
Bowling Green, OH 43042
|Owner||Bowling Green State University|
|Broke ground||September 3, 2009|
|Opened||September 9, 2011|
|Construction cost||$30 million
($31.5 million in 2014 dollars)
|Project manager||Gilbane Building Company|
|Services engineer||URS Group Inc.|
|General contractor||Mosser Construction|
|Bowling Green Falcons
(Men's & Women's basketball and Volleyball)
The Stroh Center is a 4,700-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio that opened September 2011. It replaced Anderson Arena as the home of the Bowling Green Falcons men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams and will host music concerts and the university's commencement ceremonies. The arena was designed by the architectural firm Rossetti Architects, designers of Red Bull Arena and Rio Tinto Stadium, and engineering firm URS Group Inc.
After almost five decades of service to Bowling Green State University, a need to replace Anderson Arena emerged due to the arena's limited accommodations including only two restrooms in the entire arena and poor acoustics for concerts, but the most glaring reason for a replacement of Anderson Arena was the activities center's failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all of which proved detrimental to the university's image and recruiting abilities. At the men's basketball 2008 home finale against rival Kent State, Kermit Stroh, a trustee of the university from 1993–2002, and his late wife Mary Lu donated a university record $8.7 million to the university towards interscholastic athletics with $7.7 million marked for the building of a new convocation center that was to replace venerable Anderson Arena.
After a fundraiser that netted $13.5 million, including the $7.7 million from the Strohs, Bowling Green earmarked $36 million to fund the construction of the new arena, which included a $60 student fee every semester once the building was opened until the loans for the construction of the arena were paid off. As plans for the arena accelerated despite the university's poor financial situation, several students formed a coalition to have a student vote on the Undergraduate Student Government's resolution that the student body supported paying the extra fee, leaving the passage of the resolution to the students in a vote. The subsequent vote was held online in late March 2009, 28% of the student population participated in the vote and approved of the future fee with 2,630 students in favor, while 1,182 were opposed.
Seven sites around the campus were under consideration for the construction of the Stroh Center, including the adjacent parking lot next to Memorial Hall which houses Anderson Arena and the intramural fields between Doyt Perry Stadium and the Kreischer residence halls. The university ultimately decided to build the arena on a large parking lot along Wooster Street and Mercer Road at the east end of the campus that served as one of two parking lots for students that resided in the dormitories on campus. Ground was broken on September 3, 2009 as Kerm Stroh dug a patch of ground with a backhoe at a ceremony attended by around 450 spectators and media. The first steel beam was installed at the Stroh Center site on January 25, 2010 and the site's topping off occurred during a ceremony on May 3, 2010.
In July 2008, the university announced that a 2-ton, 23-foot (7.0 m) falcon statue would be installed at the entrance of the new arena. The statue was a gift from North Carolina philanthropist, Irwin Belk, and will cost $100,000. The statue was designed by the Jon Hair Studio of Fine Art near Cornelius, North Carolina and will be the largest bronze falcon statue in the world. The falcon statue was installed in November 2010 and became part of the Falcon Spirit Plaza at the front entrance of the Stroh Center.
Design and amenities
The Stroh Center was designed by Rossetti Architects of Southfield, Michigan and the Cleveland office of the URS Group Inc. engineering firm. A major goal of the construction was to replicate the intimacy of Anderson Arena, while providing athletes and spectators the modern comforts of a state-of-the-art convocation center. To accommodate this the Stroh Center was built in a theatre-in-the-round design, providing an open walkway allowing spectators to walk completely around the facility without missing the event on the stadium floor. The arena also includes 88 courtside seats and the furthest seat in the arena, 60 feet (18 m) from the court, is only five feet further from the furthest seat at Anderson Arena. The seat widths at the Stroh Center range from 19–22 inches, while the largest seat at Anderson was only 18 inches. The arena also has four restrooms each at the north and south ends of the arena, two for women, one for men and one for families and provides four concession areas in the open walkways.
An auxiliary gym at the Stroh Center, called the Schmidthorst Pavilion, was paid for with a $1.7 million donation from Allen and Carol Schmidthorst, while the court for the gym was paid for with a $1 million donation from Bowling Green alumnus Larry Miles. The auxiliary practice gym built with the combined $2.7 million helps the men's and women's basketball teams avoid scheduling conflicts with the arena, an amenity that was not available at the Anderson Arena. The arena also includes four visiting team locker rooms that can accommodate multiple teams that allow it to support events such as high school basketball tournaments.
The main video board at the Stroh Center is 10 feet (3.0 m) high by 20 feet (6.1 m) wide with fixed sponsor elements and decorative cladding developed by Capturion Network LLC. The scoreboard hangs above the west basket and can operate as one large screen or be divided into multiple sections which have the ability to display real-time statistics, sponsor graphics, 3D animations and high definition live or recorded video. Along with the scoreboard, Capturion manufactured the scorer's tables and press row which also feature the company's latest technology. There also is a three-foot-by-30-foot (9.1 m) "ribbon board" on the east end of the court with a variety of other scoreboards.
The Stroh Center also holds a prominently placed Hall of Fame to commemorate the history of athletics at Bowling Green State University that includes exhibits and display cases that hold items on a rotating basis. There is also a designated area within the arena for cataloging and storing items not currently on display. Before the facilities at the Stroh Center, almost all memorabilia and artifacts related to Bowling Green athletics since the university's opening in 1910 had been stored in boxes in a small room just off the lobby of Anderson Arena in Memorial Hall and voluntarily collected and stored by former Bowling Green men's soccer and lacrosse coach Mickey Cochrane, who is namesake for Mickey Cochrane Field which serves as the home of the Bowling Green Falcons men's and women's soccer teams.
Harold Anderson, former Bowling Green men's basketball coach and athletic director and namesake for the Stroh Center's predecessor Anderson Arena, is remembered with the Anderson Club. The Anderson Club consists of an approximately 1,500-square-foot (140 m2) club area and chair back seating for roughly 400 fans. It includes hospitality areas, food and beverage service, high-definition televisions and areas to view the games. The Anderson Club area is located on the concourse level on the south side of the arena at mid-court and seating for fans extends to the floor-level row.
The Stroh Center held its first ticketed event, a concert by Christian rock band Sanctus Real, on August 13, 2011. The first Bowling Green athletic event at the new arena was a women's volleyball match between Bowling Green and Michigan State on September 9. The Bowling Green Falcons defeated the Spartans in four games, 3-1 with the attendance of 2,961 people. The men's basketball team played their first game at the Stroh Center on November 11, a 63–48 win over Howard in front of 3,476 fans. The women's team played their home opener against Purdue six days later, falling to the 20th-ranked Boilermakers 54–53 with 1,932 in attendance.
The Stroh Center hosted a regular season game between the Bowling Green men's basketball team and the nationally prominent Michigan State men's basketball team during the 2012–13 men's basketball season and hosting first and second round games of the 2012 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament.
In September of 2012, President Barack Obama gave a speech at the Stroh Center during his re-election campaign.
Throughout the early years of its existence, the Stroh Center has held concerts with various artists. The most notable have been Chris Young, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Rogers, and Cleveland-based rapper Machine Gun Kelly.
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