By DENISE DICK
Progress continues on the new $4.3 million Youngstown State University athletic fields along Fifth Avenue, across from Stambaugh Stadium.
“As soon as the weather breaks, you’ll see more activity over there,” said John Hyden, YSU’s executive director of facilities.
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.
It will provide the women’s soccer team with a field of its own rather than needing to share one with the football team.
The field is expected to be done by late April, and the advertisement for bids for the dugout, bleacher and walkway design is expected in late March.
The field will be named Farmers National Bank Field and paid for with a $500,000 donation from the bank.
Once the field is in, crews must wait for asphalt plants to open to pave the track, Hyden said. The asphalt then takes about a month to cure before the track surface is applied.
“Assuming the bids come back OK, we’re expecting the whole thing to be done by the time the kids come back in the fall,” he said.
Besides the university’s soccer and softball teams, the fields will be used by intramural sports, and potentially high school and community groups.
Other projects planned around campus include renovations inside DeBartolo and Cushwa halls.
Meetings started in late January with the architect for the Melnick Hall project. That $4.5 million projects aims to turn the building into a journalism and telecommunications hall. Work is to begin this summer and be complete by March 2014.
All of the journalism and telecommunications departments and programs would be housed in one place rather than scattered on campus.
Melnick will house the journalism and telecommunications department, now in DeBartolo and Bliss halls, respectively; the Jambar student newspaper, which is in Fedor Hall; the NewsOutlet, housed in Smith; WYSU, which is in Cushwa; and Rookery Radio, now in Kilcawley Center.
The Rose Melnick Medical Museum, now housed in Melnick Hall, will move to Cushwa Hall with items displayed in the areas corresponding to the appropriate study areas.
Construction on a new Veterans Center on Wick Avenue, between Melnick and the Pollock House, should begin this year and be completed by April 2014.