By Denise Dick
While the majority of Youngstown State University students are away from campus for the summer, construction crews are busy readying facilities for their return.
“The athletic fields west of Fifth [Avenue] will probably make the most aesthetic difference on campus,” John Hyden, executive director of facilities, told university trustees earlier this week.
The new complex will include a soccer field equipped with synthetic turf, an eight-lane all-weather track, softball field, lighting for the fields, bleachers, restrooms, walkways, fencing, dugouts and a concession stand.
The turf is in, and the asphalt for the track has been installed and must cure for 30 days before the track surface may be applied. The $4.35 million project is expected to be completed by fall.
Renovation work also is underway on Cushwa and DeBartolo halls.
The $2.3 million Cushwa project and the $800,000 DeBartolo project involve interior renovations including upgrades to finishes in faculty/staff offices, corridors and public areas as well as lighting and mechanical upgrades.
Hyden said the Cushwa project will be completed in time for the start of fall semester.
A second phase for DeBartolo is planned later, he said.
Renovations also are planned to the roof and on the sixth and seventh floors of Kilcawley House, and repairs are expected to sections of a utility tunnel that runs under the Kilcawley Center loading dock.
Three potential architecture firms are expected to present design proposals to university trustees later this summer for the Veterans Center. The center will be built at the site of the former Peck House on Wick Avenue.
Gene Grilli, vice president for finance and administration, told trustees the $1 million project is being funded through private donations, although bond proceeds will be used to start the project. Those funds will be repaid through the donations.
The Melnick Hall renovations are to be funded through a combination of capital and bonds. It should start later this summer and be completed next spring. When complete, the building will house all of the campus media — journalism program, WYSU radio, Rookery Radio, The Jambar, the NewsOutlet and some telecommunications — under one roof. Those departments are scattered across campus.
The project is budgeted at $4.5 million with $2.5 million from the state capital budget and the remainder to come from bonds.
But Hyden said requests for equipment from affected academic departments would increase the project between $500,000 to $800,000. Those include an insert studio for the television course and a tiered screening room.
“The aspiration is to have a media incubator,” said Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The add-ons are the very thing that make that possible.”