YOUNGSTOWN — Demolition has begun on the southern edge of the Youngstown State University campus to make way for the new $34.3 million Williamson College of Business Administration.
Five buildings along Wood Street and Rayen Avenue will be razed.
The city awarded a contract to Pro Quality Land Development, which began tearing down the buildings this week. Demolition is expected to be completed by the end of August, and groundbreaking for the new business school building is expected in October. The facility is expected to open by the summer of 2010.
Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams said partnering with the university on the project is beneficial because it will not only vastly improve a blighted area on the perimeter of downtown, it also will create a powerful linkage between the city’s central business district and the campus.
The new Williamson College of Business Administration will be a three-story, state-of-the-art facility bounded by Wood Street on the south, Rayen Avenue on the north and Phelps Street on the east. The building will be just east of St. Columba Cathedral and the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.
The site of the new building was identified by both the city and university to better link the campus and downtown Youngstown.
YSU President David C. Sweet said the city, the Diocese and the university have worked in collaboration to take a blighted block and turn it into a vital part of the YSU campus and surrounding community.
“This project represents what can happen when institutions with similar interests come together for the common good,” Sweet said. “We look forward to the construction of this building, the benefits it has to offer to our faculty and students, and the role it will play in the continued revitalization of downtown Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.”
“The Diocese of Youngstown supports YSU in this effort, which will benefit not only the university but also the downtown area and the people who work and live in our community,” said Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of the Diocese of Youngstown.
The 106,000-square-foot building will feature a 200-seat auditorium, a four-room conference center, research and outreach centers, computer labs, a financial services lab, classrooms, offices and study lounges, as well as a café. The university is raising $16 million from private donors for construction of the building, and the remaining cost will come from state capital funds.
A Webcam has been set up so the public can view the construction site from a high vantage point. It can be found at http://webcam.ysu.edu/view/view.shtml.