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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Stroh Center – Bowling Green State Falcons

Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Stroh Center 1535 E Wooster St Bowling Green, OH 43403

Year Opened: 2011

Capacity: 5,209


What’s Happening at the Stroh Center

The Stroh Center debuted for the Bowling Green State University basketball program in 2011. The building was designed by the architectural firm Rossetti Architects and engineering firm URS Group Incorporated. The modern home for Falcons basketball was quoted by the school president as “one of the most significant building and remodeling programs in our history.”

The arena stands out promptly on the BGSU campus and was a much-needed improvement over its former home Anderson Center that was constructed in 1960 and had run its course as a serviceable NCAA college venue. The building had only two restrooms, no air conditioning, hardwood bleacher-style seating, and was not compliant with ADA standards. The Toledo Blade stated that “the memories are great, but it’s time to move on.”

The $36 million Stroh Center features a $7.7 million donation–the largest single private gift in school history–by BGSU trustee Kerm Stroh and his family. For the family’s contribution, the building was named in their honor. Outside the main entrance is the largest bronze falcon statue weighing two tons with a 24-foot wingspan atop a ten-foot-tall column. The arena is ranked by U.S. Green Building Council as LEED Gold Certified.

The basketball program began on January 8, 1916, and has made four NCAA Championship tournaments, the last in 1968, the fourth-longest drought behind Dartmouth, Tennessee Tech, and Columbia. However, after a 22-12 record in 2018/19 and a fast start to the current season (2019/20), that drought could come to an end very soon for the Falcon faithful.

Food & Beverage 3

There are four main concession stands on the main concourse of the building that offer a rather simple array of food items. The Birds Nest stands are painted nicely with falcons in flight and serve hot dogs, brats, nachos, popcorn, and candy. The nachos are served with locally produced Stadium Salsa that is quite good and made with natural ingredients that can be pronounced.

Coca-Cola products are available at all stands and 20-ounce bottles of Bud products and Yuengling are served for $7 with sales ceasing at the beginning of the second half of the basketball game. Beer is also offered in the Anderson Club, a 400 seat hospitality area that is located at midcourt on the south side of the arena.

Atmosphere 3

The Stroh Center offers a capacity of 5,209 people and is considered one of the best in the Mid-Athletic Conference. The building features a wraparound concourse where fans walk down to their seats that houses concession stands, the Anderson Room, and multiple restrooms for men and women.

The basketball program’s history is on display in the south concourse where a mural highlights moments from dating back to 1915 and an homage to legendary coach Harold Anderson who guided Brown and Orange to a record of 367-193 during 21 seasons. Multiple banners hang from the rafters of past championship victories from the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball history.-who also share the facility.

There is a 10-foot by 20-foot high video board that hangs above the west basket of the building that provides highlights, replays, and advertisements. There is also a Hall of Fame that features rotating exhibits and displays of BGSU memorabilia. The Schmidthurst Pavilion is an auxiliary gym located on the north side of the gym named in honor of Allen and Carol Schmidthurst who donated $1.7 million for its creation.

Neighborhood 3

Stroh Center is located on BGSU campus within a few yards of other athletic venues including Doyt L. Perry Stadium, Slater Family Ice Arena, and the baseball and softball fields. Just across the street of the basketball arena are various fast food chains and hotels. Downtown is about a mile west of campus that offers a few more options.

BG Burgers is across the street from the building and features locally-sourced burgers where customers can build their own or choose from special menu items. They also have chicken wings, Panini sandwiches, or desserts from The Cheesecake Factory. However, they are open until 10 pm (11 pm on weekends); it might be wise to grab something before the game.

City Tap and The Attic in historic downtown offers its own range of freshly made burgers plus many craft beers on tap from $4.50 to $5.50. The Jackie O Coffee Blonde is quite tasty; their grill closes before 10 pm on weekends.

The downtown core features buildings constructed during the city’s “brief boom” from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The storefronts have been kept intact while the interiors have been altered into bars, restaurants, shops, and other forms of retail. One of them is Grounds for Thought, an impressive coffee shop and used book store that is quite large and busy with customers playing board games, using their computers, having something to eat or drink, putting a puzzle together, or catching up with some reading.

Fans 2

The Falcons averaged 2,296 fans per game last season (2018-19), a bit under the conference average of 2,995. The basketball program has posted only 6 winning seasons this century, but the current team might be able to get the team back on the winning side and get fans to the Stroh Center.

Access 4

The arena is located off I-75 less than a fourth of a mile from the exit and accessible from the main street. The parking is ample, there are two entrances, and there is plenty of access to restroom and concession areas inside the building. It is easy to locate and easier to exit once the game has concluded.

Return on Investment 3

Single-game tickets are $13 to $15 for a majority of home games at the Stroh Center. Games against rival Toledo will fetch between $20-$22 due to the proximity of about 20 miles from the two universities. There is one game where tickets are $1 for Fan Appreciation Night. The cost for parking is $5 and concession items are slightly higher than expected, but not too surprising for a sporting event.

Extras 3

The Stroh Center earns a point for the 2-ton bronze falcon statue outside its main entrance. The statue features a wingspan of 24 feet and makes for great photography with the building in the background.

The Stroh Center stands out from the main street into town with giant orange lettering, tall glass windows, and a slanted roof design. It is also LEED gold-certified for its energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating other sustainable strategies.

The Stroh Center earns a final point for its Stadium Salsa which is also available in all other venues and at local supermarkets in the area. It is made with natural ingredients and tastes much better than some of the natural brands.

Final Thoughts

The Stroh Center is a beautiful looking building that seats 5,209 people and is perfectly sized for the campus and basketball program. It has a few modern touches that puts it among the elite of buildings in the MAC, and a few more wins could change the atmosphere of the place.

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