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UT looks to revamp Glass Bowl


University of Toledo looks for architectural and engineering expertise for the potential revamp of the Glass Bowl.

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The University of Toledo may polish its Glass Bowl with an estimated $3.5 million in restroom and concession stand renovations and a possible new dining hall for varsity athletes.

UT is seeking architectural and engineering expertise for the potential revamp of the iconic, 26,248-seat Rockets football stadium, built in 1937 in the heart of the university campus.

The project would be funded by private donations and focus on the area beneath and next to the stadium’s east-side stands, according to a request for qualifications seeking architects or engineers posted this week on the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission website.

UT is considering building a souvenir shop and a 200-seat dining facility with a full prep kitchen to serve as a “training table” for varsity athletes, the document states.

Whether the university proceeds will depend on “what the architect comes back with,” Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said.

“We look at this as more of an exploratory mission on our part to assist with the restroom and concession flow on the east side of the Glass Bowl and ... the look in general,” he said.

There’s no comparable dining facility on campus as the one envisioned. It would be used by all varsity athletes, not just football players, and could host other university, student, and community groups, he said. UT could decide to build it during a later construction phase, according to project documents.

The initial site contemplated for the dining hall is under the east-side stands, but the university will consider spots under the west-side stands or elsewhere near the stadium and on campus.

The project aims to improve the fans’ experience with upgraded bathrooms and concession stands. Restrooms beneath the east-side stands’ south end were built in 1971 and measure 2,500 gross square feet. The slightly smaller north-end bathrooms were built in 1989, when concessions stands under the east side also were added.

UT’s project estimate includes $2,685,000 for construction. If it proceeds, the UT Foundation could raise money specifically for the project, said Jon Strunk, a university spokesman.

Interested architects or engineers must respond by July 2.

In the end, a decision to push forward with the project will be made by the board of trustees, with input from the architect and facilities officials, Mr. O’Brien said.

A substantial portion of the work could be completed by August, 2016, according to an anticipated schedule.

The Glass Bowl has a rich history.

Crews with the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal employment program, built the stadium. It has since been renovated and expanded several times. The stadium was refurbished using glass blocks in the 1940s, when it was named the Glass Bowl.

More improvements followed, including a major renovation starting in 1989 that was its last significant upgrade, according to a UT history of the stadium.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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