By Denise Dick
Construction is expected to start this spring to renovate the Lincoln Avenue parking deck on the campus of Youngstown State University.
YSU is negotiating a contract with a company to do the work, which will be done in phases. Once the contract is done, work will start on the design of two new surface parking lots at the College of Education on the corner of Rayen and Fifth avenues and expansion of the M2 parking lot next to Smith Hall on Lincoln.
Earlier this year, the YSU board of trustees endorsed a plan to renovate rather than tear down the Lincoln deck, referred to as the M2 parking deck. It has 1,278 spaces and was built in the 1970s.
When exactly the renovation will start is likely to be determined in the next week or so.
“We’ll know the actual date very soon,” said Danny O’Connell, YSU’s director of support services.
The contractor will be on site next week evaluating the structure. O’Connell anticipates actual renovation to begin in late March or early April, depending on the contractor’s recommendations.
John Hyden, executive director of facilities, said the work schedule will depend on the contractor’s evaluation and analysis.
The new plan is a departure from the previous plan that called for evaluating “replacement options for this functionally obsolete structure including one or more replacement garages and surface lots.” It also called for demolition of the deck, replacing it with a set of parking lots.
The new plan aims to keep the deck in use for 12 to 15 more years. During renovation, students will ride shuttle buses from remote lots to campus.
O’Connell said the university will use the Covelli Centre lot, shuttling students from that lot to campus during construction. The university will pay $7,000 per month to use the lot.
“We believe we’ll need about 700 spaces down there,” O’Connell said. “But the reality, they have well over 1,000 spaces that we could use. We’re working out the issues for snowplowing.”
YSU is working to select a shuttle company for the service. The Covelli lot likely will be open for student parking from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the shuttle running a little later, O’Connell said.
Based on history, YSU believes sufficient available parking spaces are available on campus for evening classes, he said.
Estimated initial cost of the renovation is about $2.8 million followed by repairs of about $962,000 in subsequent years. Over 15 years, the estimated cost is about $13.5 million, which includes eventual deck demolition in the 15th year.
The university has $4.1 million earmarked for the project from about $20 million it borrowed last spring.
The revised plan also reads, “consider the development of parking revenue streams sufficient to enable the replacement of this renovated structure at the end of its useful life.”
One proposal for developing such a revenue stream is converting from a parking-permit plan to a transportation fee. The fee would be assessed to all students registered for more than five credit hours and set at a rate to provide “safe, secure parking and shuttle service to the customers,” according to information presented to trustees earlier this year.
The parking fee per semester is $78. The proposal is for a $100 transportation fee to cover shuttle service and to build up a fund to pay for deck demolition or replacement in 12 to 15 years.
No action has been taken on the transportation-fee idea.