In 1929, the functions of Bowling Green were expanded to provide four-year degree programs in the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. The College of Business Administration and graduate programs were added in 1935, the year in which Bowling Green attained full university status. In 1947, the Graduate School was formed, and BGSU awarded its first doctorate in English in 1963.
Beginning in 1946, extension programs of the university were offered in Sandusky, Ohio. During the next two decades, course offerings there were expanded and in 1965 a regional campus of the University was established to serve Erie, Huron and Ottawa Counties. That campus is now Firelands College, located in Huron, Ohio. Firelands College, which opened for classes in 1967, offers career and technical education leading to associate degrees in 15 areas as well as eight bachelor's degree programs.
In the 1970s, three new colleges were added to the University's curricular offerings. In 1973, the College of Health and Human Services was established to provide degree programs in specialized areas in various health and community service fields. In 1975, the School of Music was expanded into the College of Musical Arts, and in the same year the Graduate School became the Graduate College. The School of Technology was granted college status in 1985.
The building's three major activities (ice hockey, figure skating, and curling) have drawn together persons of all ages and backgrounds. Many long-lasting friendships have been formed through the programs offered at the facility.
The Ice Arena has been home to five high school hockey state championship squads, one NCAA Division I hockey title team, one Olympic figure skating gold medalist, a mixed curling national championship team, and many other prominent youth hockey and figure skating clubs, including the BGSU precision skating team.
BGSU ice hockey games provide an intense atmosphere matched by few other activities on campus. Large, noisy crowds have been a tradition at the Ice Arena, a $1.8 million facility constructed between 1965-67. Over two million fans have packed the arena over the years, testifying to the loyalty of the BGSU faithful. The Falcons have averaged nearly 3,000 spectators over their 766 varsity home dates.
Since BGSU hockey started intercollegiate varsity competition in 1969, the Brown and Orange has won over 65 percent of its home games. The Falcons, who have had only six losing seasons at the Ice Arena, have an all-time mark of 477-243-46 in the facility. Since the arena's inception, the Falcons have twice posted 10 or more consecutive winning seasons at the BGSU Ice Arena and one stretch of 22 non-losing seasons at the Ice Arena.
The current building capacity stands at 5,000, making the arena the 22nd-largest in college hockey and the fifth largest in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
On Dec. 20, 1988, the BGSU Board of Trustees approved the enclosure of the north end (with 1,687 additional seats), giving the arena a horseshoe configuration. The Oct. 13, 1989 game against Northern Michigan was the first played in the building with its current capacity with the new seats officially dedicated the next night.
More fans packed the Ice Arena during 1989-90 than any other season as 79,376 spectators passed through the turnstiles. BGSU attracted 13 crowds during the course of the year that were larger than the previous single-game record, including two in excess of 5,000.
During the 1996-97 season, the Falcons drew 11 crowds of 4,000-plus fans (one shy of the school record), including one capacity crowd (5,016) which stands as the second largest in arena history. During the 1995-96 campaign, the Falcons drew three full-houses, two of which were higher than the previous year's arena standard. The old mark fell in December 1995, when 5,021 patrons jammed into BG's home to watch the Brown and Orange battle Michigan.
Four seasons ago, 47,165 people attended BGSU hockey games, the largest number in seven years.
Why is BGSU hockey so popular? Part of the attraction is the speed and excitement of the game. Then there's the thrill of being a part of one of the loudest and most enthusiastic crowds in college hockey. BG backers sit close to the action from all angles of the arena to get the best view of the hometown Falcons and heckle the opposition.
Then again, it is one of the few places in the country where students have lined up outside the main arena entrance for as long as six hours before the game to get their favorite rinkside seats when the doors open (60 minutes prior to faceoff).
The BGSU Ice Arena has just recently complete the first phase of the facility's second renovation since its opened in 1967. Through the "Bring Back the Glory" campaign as well as state and University funding, the arena has made some additions to the facility in order to adhere to the changing times while keeping the nostalgia of such a classical sporting venue. Renovations began in mid-April of 2010 and continued through the summer months before the rink's grand re-opening on Oct. 2, 2010.
Far more than merely a hockey rink for BGSU and BG high school teams, the Ice Arena is the site of many other attractions. The 200' x 85' ice surface serves as the home of the BG Youth Hockey Association and is the summer site of the BGSU Hockey and Figure Skating Schools.
As part of the newest appendages in the Ice Arena, the old curling rink has been replaced with a multi-purpose auxiliary sheet of ice sized at 150' x 56'. Intramural and club curling will still be housed in this area but will also be home to youth ice hockey practices and games. While Falcon hockey games are playing and while the main sheet is being used, the auxiliary rink will be open for public skating, recreational broomball competitions and skating lessons. The secondary sheet of ice is equipped with full protective glass and netting with standing room existing around the south side of the ice.
The lounge has received a makeover after the implementation of carpeting, rubber matting, paint, ceiling tile and additional BGSU décor and memorabilia to spruce up the entryway.
Replacing the small patch of studio ice on the east side of the arena are two new locker rooms for visiting teams and community use. Opposite of the locker rooms replacing the studio ice are two additional auxiliary locker rooms, increasing the total number of locker rooms in the Ice Arena to seven.
Additional renovations remain hopeful as the "Bring Back the Glory" campaign progresses, continuing to raise money to improve the BGSU Ice Arena the Falcon hockey program. During the 2011-12 season, the "Bring Back the Glory" campaign kicked off its public phase with a $100,000 anonymous donation.
The BGSU hockey coaching staff moved into new offices as part of a $750,000 renovation project performed. Completed in 2002, the new addition includes coaches offices, training room, weight room and alumni lounge. A large portion of the money used for the renovation was donated by former Falcons who played their collegiate careers inside the BGSU Ice Arena. Four full-size dressing rooms for the Falcons, visiting teams and youth teams, in addition to two staff/officials' locker rooms, are also located on the east side of the complex.
The locker room facility was upgraded during the 2011-12 season, to make the Falcons' locker room a state-of-the-art facility.
One of the most popular events held biennially in April is the "Ice Horizons" production put on by the Bowling Green Figure Skating Club. BG native Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic figure skating gold medalist and a four-time World champion, has often performed at the show since his youth.
The Ice Arena served as the site of the 2002 Ohio High School Athletic Association's Ice Hockey Championships.
Other events staged at the Ice Arena over the years have included an East Coast Hockey League game, regional precision skating championships and camps, national officials training sessions, and the "International Stars On Ice" show featuring some of the world's top amateur and professional skaters. The proceeds from the "International Stars On Ice" program, sponsored biennially (1978-1992) by the BGFSC and produced by BGSU, went to the American Cancer Society.
In addition, Gordie Howe and the Detroit Red Wings played a fund-raising game against Fort Worth at the Ice Arena on Oct. 2, 1968, for the benefit of the BGSU club hockey program that regularly drew crowds of over 2,500 fans. Just 55 days later, the University's Athletic Committee voted to upgrade hockey to varsity status effective the next season. The rest is history.