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YSU to get discounts because of state grant


Published: Wed, March 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


The university will pay no more than 20 percent of the regular rental fee.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University will get the use of the Chevrolet Centre on East Front Street six times a year at discount prices, thanks to a $2 million state grant to help build the facility.
The state Legislature passed a capital budget bill last year allocating $2 million to Youngstown toward the cost of building the convocation center but attached a string to the arrangement that will benefit YSU, a state school.
Atty. Greg Morgione, YSU associate general counsel, told the university's Board of Trustees recently that the university and the city have negotiated a "Joint Use Agreement" for the facility that will give the university some perks to encourage its use of the facility. The joint use arrangement was incorporated as part of the legislation approving the funding, he said.
David Bozanich, city finance director, said the agreement must be in place before Youngstown can actually draw down the $2 million. The city had requested a $5 million allocation and the state has indicated that the additional $3 million will be forthcoming in the next two annual budget bills, he said.
20-year deal
The Joint Use Agreement will run for 20 years, guaranteeing YSU use of the center six times a year for events such as graduations, concerts and sporting events.
The university will pay no more than $3,000 for each event, terms that are much more favorable than those available to the public.
The deal comes with the free use of two hospitality suites (which can accommodate up to 34 people each) and parking for up to 2,300 vehicles, Morgione said.
Another part of the agreement calls for the city to work with other event promoters at the arena to offer incentives for YSU students to buy tickets for those other events.
Once the city and YSU sign the agreement, it must be sent to the Ohio Board of Regents for final approval, Morgione said, adding that he thinks the process can be completed within about two months.
The agreement provides the university with the free use of in-house production equipment at the facility, free use of the festival grounds adjacent to the arena six times per year for outside events with on-site parking for 500 vehicles and access to off-site parking for up to 2,300 vehicles for those outside events.
Further, YSU will be allowed free use of a 75-seat center conference room up to 20 days per year, eight hours per day.
Dr. David C. Sweet, YSU president, said the university will put together a plan of use for the center, taking suggestions from every group on campus.
The agreement calls for the creation of a four-member joint use committee to coordinate the scheduling of YSU events with other programs at the center. The mayor and the YSU president will each appoint two members of the committee.
What are the usual costs?
The agreement points out that the normal cost to rent the center for an event is $15,000, and its production equipment is rented out at $2,000 per event.
The hospitality suites normally rent for $2,500 each per event, and the conference room rents at $600 for an eight-hour day.
The festival grounds outside the center normally cost $1,500 per event and the value of free parking for up to 2,300 vehicles is $6,900 per event, the agreement says.
gwin@vindy.com


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