A crowd of nearly 200 student-athletes, staff and friends gathered Feb. 15 in Bemidji State University’s John S. Glas Fieldhouse to formally unveil the Frederick P. Baker Training Center.
The renovation project, funded by a gift from 1961 BSU graduate Frederick Baker, converted the former home of Beaver Hockey into an artificial turf-covered multi-sport indoor practice facility.
“Fred’s belief in the mission of Bemidji State and his desire to give back to the university where he got his start is so greatly appreciated by all of us here,” BSU President Faith Hensrud said at the ceremony.
Beaver Athletics now has a year-round practice facility that creates new flexibility for teams and coaches when scheduling practices. Spring sports such as softball and baseball have access to space that allows for simulated games and a variety of other activities that were previously difficult or impossible until weather allowed the teams to practice outdoors.
The facility also includes a dedicated strength and conditioning facility, with new weight equipment purchased through a gift to the university from Paul and Paige Hanson.
“I’m sure you’ll agree that the quality of this facility will give BSU an edge in recruiting,” Hensrud said. “Our student-athletes love it already.”
Hensrud said the facility showed what was possible when a public university forged relationships with donors to renovate space in public buildings.
Tia Neuharth, a junior on the BSU soccer team, said the opportunity to practice in the facility fulfilled a dream that had first been shared when she was being recruited as a student a Prior Lake High School.
“I didn’t know when it was going to be done, but I open my eyes now and it’s unbelievable,” she said. “Having this here, we are able to develop our sports teams in the off-season to our full potential.”
Redshirt freshman running back Jalen Frye agreed.
“It’s amazing and it really just rejuvenated us, gave us a new excitement,” he said. “When we use it, we use it with pride and are so happy that we have it. So I thank you for that. It really helps us solidify ourselves as a legitimate program here at BSU.”
The John S. Glas Fieldhouse
The conversion of Bemidji State’s former on-campus hockey arena into an indoor training facility dramatically updates a building that has played a crucial role in the university’s history and identity. The Glas — known as the BSU Fieldhouse until it was renamed for John S. Glas, BSU’s acting president when the building was completed in 1967 — was home to BSU’s legendary men’s ice hockey program from 1967 until 2010, when the team’s home games moved to Bemidji’s Sanford Center. During that time, BSU won 503 games and 5 of its 13 national championships at the Fieldhouse, giving the Beavers a fierce home-ice advantage. Between December 1981 and January 1985, BSU won 54 consecutive games at the Glas, the longest home winning streak in the history of college hockey.
BSU added NCAA Division I women’s hockey in 1998, and the women’s team won 32 games in the Glas before joining the men’s team and moving to the Sanford Center in 2010.
In addition, the Glas was home to BSU’s commencement ceremony for many years and was the host venue for concerts featuring such acts as Johnny Cash, Cheap Trick, the Goo-Goo Dolls and Vanessa Carleton.