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New YSU president will have residence on campus

Published: Thu, February 4, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN — It will take about a year and a half, but the new president of Youngstown State University will have a residence on campus.

The YSU Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to restore the mansion portion of the Wick-Pollock Inn at 603 Wick Ave. as a single-family residence, designating it as the official home of YSU’s president.

In a related move, the trustees voted to change the name of the structure to the Porter and Mary Pollock House.

The 16-room house was built by Paul Wick in 1893 and his daughter, Mary, and her husband, Porter Pollock, lived in the house until their deaths. The Pollock family then gave the house, known as Pollock House, to what was then Youngstown College.

Over the years, it served as classroom and office space, and, in the 1980s, a private developer added a 64-room addition to the mansion and opened it as a full-service hotel under the name Wick-Pollock Inn. It closed in 1998 and has been vacant ever since, and, over the last couple of years, the trustees have been looking at various plans to get it restored in some fashion, opting last fall for a conference center proposal.

The trustees have set aside about $4.4 million for the restoration, the bulk of it from $47 million being borrowed for various campus construction and improvement projects. The residence will be on the second floor with the first floor designed as a reception area. The project includes restoring the carriage house.

YSU hasn’t had a presidential residence for about 25 years and the issue came up as the trustees are searching for a successor to David C. Sweet who retires as president June 30.

Scott Schulick, chairman of the board, said the issue of housing for a new president came up as the trustees began reviewing candidates for the post. The trustees had already approved a plan to tear down the Wick-Pollock hotel wing and convert the mansion into a conference center with as many as 11 guest rooms.

Changing that plan to make it a presidential residence instead was an easy switch and won’t change the project cost, he said.

The YSU Archives show that President John Coffelt (1973-84) was the last president to live in university-owned housing, a property on Colonial Drive in Liberty.

The university sold that house after President Neil Humphrey took office (1984-92) as Humphrey already had his own home in Poland.

YSU has been paying its presidents a housing allowance since that time and spent $515,000 toward that purpose over the last decade.

The board prefers to provide housing rather than a housing allowance, Schulick said, noting that only two of Ohio’s public universities — YSU and Kent State — don’t provide housing.

The descendants of the Pollock family like the trustees’ plan, he said.

“This house is very dear to me and my family, and we are heartened that the university has committed to returning it to its original use as a home,” said Roberta Marstellar Hannay, granddaughter of Porter and Mary Pollock.

The new president will take office July 1, but the restoration project won’t be done until July 2011. The trustees will have to come up with some temporary housing arrangements in the meantime, Schulick said.

The house is at the main entrance to the university and is a central point of the campus, said Hunter Morrison, director of campus planning and community partnerships. It will work well as both president’s residence and a location for fund-raising, community and other events and receptions, he said.



1Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

I applaud the Trustees decision to restore this piece of Valley history. I also applaud the decision to have the new President live directly on campus.

Renewal of downtown will happen one step at a time, and this is a good first step.

That being said, there is no Constitutional authority to have government-run education.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Waste of taxpayer and student dollars. $4.4 million is too much to spend. They should just take it down and create more parking space for students. Besides, I really don't think the President of YSU will feel safe living in that part of Youngstown. I don't even like driving by that area for personal safety reasons.

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3GetReal1006(9 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

One thing we can count on is a negative comment from "union forever". I am positive if the YSU trustees voted to tear down the structure and make it a parking lot, he or she would have found fault with that as well. In fact, has "Union Forever" ever posted a positive comment? It is exactly because of naysayers like "union forever" -- about everything - that the valley continues to be stuck in the muck. You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem, and you are the latter!

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4aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

I think it's great they're doing this. Although I agree that $4.4 million dollars is a crap load of money, it's a piece of Youngstown history. If only we could preserve the rest of it.

I dunno, maybe I was just born in the wrong generation. I'd love to see Youngstown look the way it used to in old pictures.

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5PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Apparently YSU's Board of Trustees know that the money is available. If the money was not available, the Board most likely not proceed. With that said it is important that the Pollock House be preserved. This is a good plan to preserve the home. Also, the student enrollment is now up substantially, therefore the money will be there!!!!

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6Attis(1134 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

That little gang of elitists has just given the taxpaying public over 4 million reasons to abolish the YSU Presidency and abolish the YSU Board of Trustees. This is America, and we have no need for kings or aristocrats.

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7howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Union Forever, if you are afraid of driving in that part of Youngstown you must afraid of your own shadow!... Crime in Youngstown is no worse than it is in many urban areas large and small across the country irregardless of the local economy.

So you should stop badmouthing the city you live and work in and start doing something to fix our challenges. Might I suggest volunteering at a local public school, or start a neighborhood watch, or join up with the Wick Park Neighborhood Association for one of their clean up the neighborhood days.

Maybe if you spent as much energy on fixing things instead of complaining about them, Youngstown would become a better place than you thought it could be.

As for the mansion I am fully supportive of YSU restoring it to its former glory. Its about time the YSU did more to improve the community rather than just its own little enclave.

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8PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

I believe the preservation is important. However, I can not wait to see the restoration of the carriage house and the grounds that surround it. Actually YSU could sell tickets to see the historical home and its fabulous gardens......This could be a money maker too!!! That home and property is a gold mine. Did any of you ever see the gardens........Again YSU could charge fees if people want to take event pics there or hold events in the gardens and carriage house..........It is a gold mine.........PHISHIE

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9walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

What a collosal waste of money. $4.4 million? Why not build a brand new residence for the president on a different site for, say, $400,000. You know, a bungalow of sorts could be built for that. Or, maybe refurbish the residence area for maybe $100,000, build separation walls to the guest rooms, and convert the guest rooms to dorm rooms for graduate students to be included in their stipend. In addition, I know a building on (or just off) Rayen Ave. (Clingan-Waddell?) was converted to a residence for former President Cocharan and his wife about 15 years ago. I believe it was called Penguin Place and was subsequently sold when Sweet became President.

So the trustees give ACE mebers bonuses for increases in enrollments that they had nothing to do with, except that they wrote it into their contracts. Where do I get a contract like this? Businesses are laying off staff, cutting back on benefits like health care, and contracting but these trustees throw money around like an NBA player in a strip club! Pass it on to the students!

Me? I'm going to sit here and finish my coffee. Yessir, enjoying my coffee.

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10Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

While I agree that the Wick-Pollock needs to be restored, I think this usage is wasteful and unproductive. A house on Fifth Avenue could be purchased for 150,000 dollars for the presidents of YSU, and the Wick Pollock should be restored as an Inn for the university's Hospitality Management students to operate, gaining experience in their field as they study it. It would also then function as a hotel in a downtown area that badly needs one. The hotel structure attached should be restored as well, especially if you have 4.4 million dollars to spend. It's idiotic to spend that much money to restore a structure that could be used for much more efficient and money-making opportunities than simply putting it to use as a residence for the president of YSU. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I'm not sure if this board of trustees are all that trustworthy.

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11JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Walter: "Dude, I'm totally calm."
Dude: "What, waving the f*king gun around?"

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12SemperTyrannis(49 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

YSU has been rated one of the safest campuses in Ohio. If you are afraid to be in that part of town perhaps it's time for you to leave the area.

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13AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Walter..I agree. This community and the state should be outraged over the expenditure of $4.4 million to restore this structure. Maybe YSU's finance department can give them a lesson that you don't invest more into a project then you will be able to get out of it.

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14WilliamP(70 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

KUDOS!! It's about time. The fate of YSU and the City of Youngstown are inseparable, and any President of YSU must understand this. The position of YSU president involves more than simply that of an administrator of an academic institution. They must recognize YSU's - and thus their - role as an agent of change in the City proper. Living within the City, and on campus is one necessary step in demonstrating their understanding of this symbiotic relationship and commitment to the school, City and larger community.

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15PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Actually you all need to see the potential before you understand the final product. The gardens, the carriage house the house imagine it all restored. It will be a tourist attraction.......if done right YSU can make enough money from rentals and other income to pay for the place........A historical site and home should not be converted into something it never should have been. The residence was not originally a inn, it should be restored to the historic home that it once was. The plan is a good one and it will most likely work.

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16walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm calmer than you are.

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17walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Last time I checked, a golg mine should produce gold. This property is so valuable that it has sat unused for many years. The Arms Museum directly across the street is also a historic place and should be a tourist attraction, but check to see how many people visit it. Maybe if you put a craps table and some slots in it, people just might come, but don't count on it.

I believe it would be a great idea for the new President to stay on campus, but $4.4 million? What leaders!

And, BTW: "That rug really tied the room together!"

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18JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

According to the article the $4.4 mil had already been budgeted...not sure what the outrage stems from? You don't want a $4.4 mil hole in the budget for the next FY so you kinda have to act to fill it. Budgeting for your household differs greatly from budgeting for a business; I think that understanding may elude many who've posted.

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19PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

I just went by the home this afternoon. Oh yeah it will be a gold mine for the university. I can see weddings in the gardens than a reception in the restored carriage house. If done right there is a lot of potential there. Naysayers would say tear down the building. But enough historic buildings have been demolished in the Mahoning County. Time to preserve........naysayers are such a waste...........PHISHIE

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20Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

My cousin was married there years ago...beautiful ceremony. The gardens have recently been restored and are worth visiting.

A worthy investment. Good work Trustees.

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21crl(18 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

This is a beautiful historic landmark in the city of Youngstown and should be preserved and brought back to its former grandeur. It will make a wonderful home for the president and also serve as a reception center for the many events the president hosts for YSU.

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22RustOnMyBelt(172 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Great idea at long last. If they were going to restore it as a historic building anyway, then why not make it livable for the University's President as well? YSU won't get sucked into buying a presidents house back when they leave again and they could hold receptions there as stated earlier. The money spent will help stimulate the local economy as people work to restore the mansion and spend their dollars in area establishments.Not to mention YSU's ability to provide lawn maintenance , security and snow removal at less cost. Good call Trustees!

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