According to renderings, the University of Toledo's new practice facility adjacent to Savage Hall will look something like this.
Hal and Susan Fetterman have enjoyed University of Toledo football games from their Glass Bowl suite for nearly 20 years. Yesterday the Fettermans made an announcement that will ensure the Rockets enjoy their offseasons.
The Fettermans announced at the Toledo Club that they have given $1 million to the UT athletic department to be used for the construction of an indoor practice facility. The building had previously been announced as part of the university's Building Champions Capital Campaign.
It's the first major donation toward the facility, which is expected to cost $12 million and open in the fall of 2009. The practice facility, which will be located adjacent to Savage Hall, will contain a 100-yard football practice field, a basketball/volleyball practice court and an indoor track.
"It made sense that if we were going to [make a donation], this was the perfect time to do it," Hal Fetterman said.
The building will be a key recruiting tool for the Rockets. Nearly all Mid-American Conference football teams either have an indoor facility or are planning to build one in the next few years.
"We're going to catch up to and pass a lot of schools in our league with this indoor facility," UT football coach Tom Amstutz said. "This is a very generous gift."
Fetterman grew up in Fulton County and owned two Toledo businesses, Midwest Paper Specialties and Cutting Edge Converted Products, one of which he sold recently. He did not attend college but has a daughter, son-in-law and grandson who are UT graduates.
Three other grandchildren are currently enrolled at UT.
University of Toledo president Lloyd Jacobs welcomes the $1 million donation made by Susan and Hal Fetterman.
The Fettermans have served on the Glass Bowl Advisory Board and since 1996 have endowed a memorial scholarship for UT engineering students in honor of their son, Scott, who died of cancer.
Fetterman said he spoke with Chuck Sullivan, who donated $5 million toward the upcoming Savage Hall renovations, about donating, and made his decision in the past couple weeks. He said it has not been decided whether the building will carry his and his wife's names.
"I like the integrity I see at the University of Toledo," he said. "God has been good to me and I wanted to give back something to the community."
It's an exciting couple of days for the UT athletic department. The ground breaking for the Savage Hall renovations is tomorrow.
"This kicks off a terrific week in our history," UT athletic director Mike O'Brien said.
O'Brien said the school hopes to use the revenue earned from the new Savage to "get the cash flow process going" for the practice facility. Other donations have been made toward it but the total raised so far including the Fettermans' donation is less than $2 million, he said.
NOTE: O'Brien said the department is planning to replace the artificial surface at the Glass Bowl in time for the 2008 football season. The brand of turf has not been determined and bidding is underway. The Nexturf surface currently on the field was installed in 2001.
"We're working on that for next fall," O'Brien said.
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