By ROGER LAPOINTE, Sentinel-Tribune Staff Writer
While the official ribbon cutting for the Black Swamp Curling Center isn’t planned until fall, a soft opening over the weekend allowed visitors a sneak peek at what’s been heating up at the new ice center.
The new Black Swamp Curling Center is the largest curling facility in Ohio with ice dedicated only to curling, according to Bowling Green Curling Club officials. It features four competition ice sheets and Olympic-quality rocks.
Curlers slide “curling stones” that are actually precision milled granite disks with a handle, each weighing between 38 and 44 pounds. The ice sheets used in curling have a “house” at each end that resembles a large bull’s eye, painted into the ice.
“This set of curling stones was made to order for the club,” club President Shannon Orr said.
The stones were harvested from a quarry containing the rare granite used for Olympic-competition quality stones, at Ailsa Craig, Scotland. The rocks were an anonymous donation to the club.
“You walk into the new building and there are smiles on everyone’s faces. It’s a dream come true,” said architect and club member Mary Glowacki. Additional architectural engineering on electrical and ice-related technology was provided by the Buehrer Group. The old building was gutted and set up in two sections — a warm room and a cold room. The cold room has the ice and related ice-making apparatus for four full competition sheets. The play area has a unique design, with one sheet separate from the other three, potentially for championship final rounds. The building is also lighted and wired for television, complete with hard-wired cameras and monitors for live streaming that can be viewed on the web and other parts of the building. The building’s warm section has a combination viewing and refreshment area that seats 129. It also includes a kitchen prep area. An additional area has been set aside for a second building phase that would include a locker room and pro shop. “We would like to thank the Northwest Ohio community for its overwhelming support of curling. There really isn’t anything else like this in Ohio,” Orr said. The 49-year-old Bowling Green Curling Club previously played at the Bowling Green State University ice arena. In past years, the team had hosted many international competitions, called bonspiels. The new building has become an attraction for future national and international level bonspiels. The first international level bonspiel is scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day weekend with 32 teams coming from as far away as western Canada. The new facility is located at 19901 N. Dixie Highway. Facility updates and events and information on curling classes can be found at www.bgcurlingclub.com and the Bowling Green Curling Club Facebook page.