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YSU to borrow $24.5M for campus improvement

Published: Sun, December 20, 2009 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Harold Gwin

A plan to raze the Lincoln Avenue parking deck drew criticism from one trustee.

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University will borrow an additional $24.5 million to continue its ongoing campus- improvement program.

The YSU board of trustees voted Wednesday to approve the bond issue, targeting Kilcawley Center, the WATTS indoor athletic facility, parking issues and more.

The university borrowed $21 million earlier this year, primarily to help finance the construction of a new home for the Williamson College of Business Administration that will open in fall 2010. There were also sufficient funds available to earmark $4 million for renovation of the Wick Pollock Inn.

The new bond issue will finance a $10 million upgrade of Kilcawley, the university’s student center, and put up $7 million toward the $10 million WATTS (Watson and Tressel Training Site) Center to be built on the northern side of campus.

Funding for WATTS was to come 50 percent from the bond issue and 50 percent from private gifts, but the philanthropic effort has netted only $3 million so far.

The bond issue will be tapped for $7 million with $2 million of that to be reimbursed when the rest of the private funding is secured.

A total of $2.1 million of the new bonds was earmarked for new intramural-sports fields and facilities proposed on university-owned property on the west side of Fifth Avenue near Stambaugh Stadium.

The bond issue sets aside $400,000 to renovate the old Williamson College of Business Administration building and $500,000 for programming for the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The only part of the bond issue to generate debate is $4.5 million earmarked for parking changes on campus.

The YSU administration wants to tear down the 1,275-space Lincoln Avenue parking deck at the end of the 2010-11 school year and replace it with 1,376 surface- parking spaces on scattered sites, most of them on YSU property.

The university would have to make $150,000 in temporary repairs to the deck for 2010-11.

That plan has drawn criticism from Trustee Harry Meshel, who said he favors using $5 million to refurbish the deck to get 10 to 15 years more out of it.

The deck was built in the early 1970s.

“You have parking lots all over creation,” Meshel said of the administration’s plan. Some are as far from central campus as Belmont Avenue, he added.

Scott Schulick, board chairman, said he’s not sure spending money to keep the deck open for an additional 10 to 15 years is a good investment. He indicated he favors the administration’s plan.

Trustees Carole Weimer, John Jakubek and John Pogue also said they think the deck is at the end of its useful life.

Student Trustees Daniel DeMaiolo and Lyndsie Hall suggested they would like more time for discussion on the fate of the deck before making a decision.

As it stands now, the administration’s plan is proceeding.

Administrators have said the deck property could be put to better use as academic space, perhaps as a new location for the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.



1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

The trustees don't have to park in the deck. They don't have to hunt to find parking or walk a mile from one of these far flung lots to a class on the other side of campus, so what do they care. And then to add insult to removal of the deck they are now going back on the plan of using the deck property as a surface lot. Wonderful!

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2NoBS(2841 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

The YSU Trustees have their eye on that property at the corner of Lincoln and 5th, where the parking deck now stands. They have some other use in store for it, and since they won't come out with what it is, there's got to be something shady about it.

If the Trustees want to squelch the current student growth, removing parking is probably the best way to do it. Yeah, yeah, they're going to put in (temporarily) a surface lot that will afford a fraction of the spaces the deck provides, and their big master plan is that there are "plenty of parking spaces to the east and west of campus." No, there's not, and since perception equals reality around here, if the commuter kids go home and whine about being forced to park 'way out in the boonies where they can get mugged or robbed, a significant number of them will be going to Kent next year.

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3candystriper(575 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Put a bike in your car and use it to get around if you commute and the walk is far...rent bikes and electric scooters at Kilcawley. The parking deck should be destroyed...the idea is making it pedestrian adorable.

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4AndyEippert(2 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Parking has always been a problem at YSU. The board should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail if they go ahead with the plan to eliminate the deck and replace it with spaces no one can find. And Harry Meshel was the only one to speak up. The rest have no common sense or concern about the harried working students who struggle to find a parking space and make it to class.

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5dd933(312 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

In most of the developed world students would be living near campus and walking or taking public transportation to the campus. New student housing is being built at Elm & Madison. The price of a car, insurance, maintenance and fuel would go a long way toward paying for on or near campus housing. Parking becomes less of a problem when we have fewer cars to park.

Another project that would have provided more student housing and parking for its residents was proposed next to Stambaugh Auditorium where the new CVS is locating but it was nixed by the YSU Administration.

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