$10M athletic-training center for YSU placed on fast track

By Harold Gwin

The university is still raising money to pay for the project.

YOUNGSTOWN — An indoor athletic-training facility proposed for the north side of the Youngstown State University campus could be open for student use by August 2010.

The finance and facilities committee of the YSU Board of Trustees has named MS Consultants Inc. of Youngstown as the architect for the $10 million project.

The university got a total of 15 architectural proposals for the job, and a review team narrowed that down to three finalists — MS Consultants, MSA Sport (a division of MSA Architects of Cincinnati) and Richard Fleischman & Partners of Cleveland, said John Hyden, YSU executive director of facilities.

Those three recently made formal presentations to the board committee.

Although several committee members said they were impressed with Fleischman’s creative approach to a 120,000-square-foot building that would basically house just a 300-meter track and football practice field, the committee decided to go with MS Consultants because it is a local company that has performed satisfactorily on other YSU projects in the past, including the east stands at Stambaugh Stadium.

Construction on the WATTS (Watson and Tressel Training Site) Center was originally not expected to begin until July 2010 with completion in early 2011, but the job has been fast-tracked at the insistence of some members of the board of trustees who believe it will provide a direct benefit to students and could produce revenue for the university by being leased for use by schools and other colleges.

The latest schedule shows construction stating in March 2010 with completion in August 2010.

The center is named for former YSU head football coach Jim Tressel and his wife, Ellen, and her parents, Frank and Norma Watson, who pledged a total of $1 million to get the project started in mid-2007.

The financing plan calls for half of the $10 million cost to be financed through philanthropy with the other half coming from money the university plans to borrow through the sale of bonds in early 2010 to finance this and other projects.

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