CONVOCATION CENTER Director: Steel's tardiness won't affect opening date

A Columbus company is providing the steel.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mother Nature has delayed the arrival of steel for the Youngstown Convocation Center.
But Jeff Kossow, the center's executive director, said he is not concerned -- right now -- that the delay will keep the center from its proposed opening date in November.
When Kossow was officially announced as center director in early December, officials from G.E. Compass, a joint venture of Global Entertainment Corp. and Compass Facility Management to market the arena, announced that structural steel was set to arrive in the middle of December and erection of the frame would take place through January and February.
The steel, however, has yet to arrive.
Kossow explained that bad weather has not allowed Ohio Steel Industries in Columbus, which was awarded the $3.63 million structural steel contract, to get it to Youngstown.
"They were out of power because of a bad snowstorm in the Columbus area in December and the area recently has been hit by bad ice storms in January," Kossow said Thursday.
Ohio Steel has decided to wait for better weather to allow company drivers to haul the steel to the city, Kossow added.
Kossow said Ohio Steel does have a time line to meet, and when the steel does arrive, the company has 60 days to erect it.
The building is broken up into quadrants, so the plan calls for the company to start erecting steel in one corner of the center, get so much work done, then allow the other trades, such as those installing precast concrete forms, to complete their jobs, the director said.
Kossow said there was some anticipation of weather-related problems, so the steel's tardiness was not totally unexpected.
He added he sees nothing yet that would send up "red flags" that the center won't be ready by November.
Kossow said the recent heavy rains here also have not caused flooding problems near the construction site.
About the project
The $42 million center is being built between the Market Street and South Avenue bridges. It is closer to the South Avenue bridge and access to it will be from Front Street. The Mahoning River flows behind the center.
Kossow said there is a large retention pond near the site, and the way the area was designed, water doesn't back up into the construction area.
"Once the pond fills, it releases into a storm sewer system, and to date that has been working," Kossow said.
He added that when the heavy rains last summer caused havoc for many Mahoning Valley areas and residents, the construction site was unaffected.
There was no work at the site Thursday because of the early-morning rain.

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