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Published: 9/20/2005

Presidential home opens to public

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Elaine Skoog of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce talks with BGSU President Sidney Ribeau. Elaine Skoog of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce talks with BGSU President Sidney Ribeau.
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University House is the new residence of the Bowling Green State University president. It's on South Wintergarden Road in Bowling Green. University House is the new residence of the Bowling Green State University president. It's on South Wintergarden Road in Bowling Green.
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BOWLING GREEN - More than a year after the place was purchased, the doors to Bowling Green State University's new presidential home were opened to community members yesterday.

The curious - nearly 100 people were invited - got a bite to eat and a quick peek inside most of the 1991 home, which has undergone some minor repair work and many coats of paint in recent months.

It's also been filled with some largely reused furniture - including pieces from the former BGSU student union - that have been placed throughout the 10-room dwelling on South Wintergarden Road.

In addition to tours, BGSU President Sidney Ribeau and his wife, Paula Whetsel-Ribeau, also decided to use their new home yesterday as the backdrop for a community-related announcement.

After conferring with other community leaders and public officials, Mr. Ribeau announced that Sept. 19 was being declared a future "community collaboration day" in Bowling Green, a day in which leaders will meet annually to recognize their efforts in working together.

Mr. Ribeau pointed to existing collaborations, such as the use of the BGSU Ice Arena, the attraction to town of Buckeye Boys State, and Bowling Green Mayor John Quinn's frequent presence at the university as examples of this.

"Mayor Quinn is constantly, visibly active on campus," Mr. Ribeau said.

After people had toured the house and viewed its white marble floors, newer wood built-ins, original chandeliers, and view of vacant land to its rear, Mr. Ribeau said there was one main reason for getting people into his home as quickly as possible: He said he wants them to know that the university's mission - to work within in the community - extends beyond the campus, just as the university-owned house also is not on campus.

"Paula and I talked about this. We really wanted to have this here," the president said.

Last May, members of the BGSU Foundation voted to spend $1.1 million to buy about 19 acres in the southwest part of the city. The property included the president's house, now known as the University House, which will be used for both presidential living and fund-raising.

The president's home and its surrounding five acres were later given to the university, with leaders using the $415,000 from the sale of their former presidential house on Hillcrest Drive for the renovation, purchases, and continued maintenance of the new home.

About a fourth of the proceeds have been used thus far for upgrades, which included the addition of a handicapped-accessible restroom on its first floor.

The additional presidential home space was needed, especially during the midst of a capital campaign and for a growing university, said former Trustee Kermit Stroh, who also co-chairs that fund-raising effort.

"I'm so proud of what the university has done, the choices they've made in making this a possibility," he said.

Contact Kim Bates at:

kimbates@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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