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Your Pilgrim ideas needed

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published February 24, 2009

The future of the Pilgrim Collegiate Church is still being decided, according to Hunter Morrison, YSU's Director of Campus Planning and Community Partnerships. When the University bought the building, it had tenants; it does not now. Without the church congregation as tenant, YSU is put in a difficult position of either allocating money towards the church or to other necessary expenses in its vast holdings.

What's needed now are ideas for the church's future. How could it best be used for the benefit of the University and its community and in a way that is self-sustaining. In other words, how can whatever goes there pay for itself? What are your ideas? 


1cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

"Necessary expenses" like a $10 million indoor practice field?

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2tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Let's be practical. The athletic department has income to support that kind of development, and grants have been made to the University to support it.

I'm not suggesting the University is exempt from close scrutiny in its decisions, but let's have a pragmatic and productive discussion about this.

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3bobhogue(102 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Kudos to Tyler for posting this and for trying to gather some constructive suggestions.

I suppose people will ridicule these, but here goes:

1. Use the church annex as a central point for University recycling efforts. With its prime location, it would also be very convenient for city residents to bring materials for recycling, although care would have to be taken that it not turn into a garbage dump.

2. Use all or part of the facility as a center for returning Veterans who enroll at YSU, or former students who return from military service to resume their academic career. (This could work out well, since the University is creating a new office of Veterans Affairs.)

3. Determine if it could be used for a central receiving location and/or university mailroom.

5. Convert/rehabilitate the rooms in the annex for auxiliary meeting or conference rooms.

I admit that all but perhaps #1 would not really be self-sustaining, but they would at least provide additional and perhaps better space for some campus activities.

Just my suggestions.

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4cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, not to derail the discussion but the "grants" made total about 1.2 million and the cost is $10 million--in the meantime existing campus structure are literally falling apart. I'm not naive and I know the importance of athletics to a university budget but if the claim is "necessary" expenses that invites scrutiny. Finally, I wonder why the U bought the building if the only way they can afford to maintain it is the rent paid by the former congregation--that doesn't really make much sense does it? I mean generally universities like YSU aren't big into the landlord business are they? So a "pragmatic" and "productive" discussion might take into account that the university has no intention of recycling or re-purposing the structure.

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5tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

@bobhogue, all suggestions welcomed, and thanks for yours. The next question is whether those uses can justify in savings or earnings the costs of maintaining the Pilgrim.

@cityguy, what can I say, you may be right. But criticizing the University for whatever short-sightedness you're assuming still doesn't provide a solution for the present situation.

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6cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. That said, I would agree that the logical use is as a performance space and the classrooms be used as well, classrooms, or possibly as an "arts" incubator--studio spaces with low rents for artists and performers. Or, since the acoustics are awesome, maybe relocate WYSU to the location--that would be a real gem.

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7tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

My wife was suggesting an arts incubator, too. Maybe if the University can't sponsor one there, the Butler can.

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8cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes, of course somehow the rent and utilities would have to be paid since that is a large part of the issue for YSU--it would likely need to be private or non-profit sector funded and artists in residence would have to pay a nominal rent.

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9debraweaver(30 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Use the space for the department of religion and philosophy or as a building where student and community organizations could maintain office space.

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10cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Deb: I think the U has made it pretty clear that they want paying tenants--that's what's behind the whole rationale for tearing it down because the congregation left.

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11tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

This is a rather pathetic photo I took at night with my iPhone camera, but I can't find anything better right now:

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12Eastsider7(9 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

The old church should be razed after any stain glass, supplies from the old restaurant downstairs or woodworking can be sold. The proceeds could go to specifically aid the arts. An old place like that has got to cost a small fortune in utilities (heating ,cooling) not to mention physical upkeep. I would imagine it to be a huge undertaking costing a lot of money for making the main sacristy area into separate floors with rooms to be used by who? We have enough vacant office spaces downtown.It would be nice to help connect YSU with the downtown by opening that small corner lot up so people can see jones hall when they drive up wick.In the future, if there is enough support for the arts, then build a nice studio or place for artists to work and show their work as the campus is expanded.

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13cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Eastsider--I think the point you make is the one the university is taking--that the building is too costly to heat and maintain without a paying tenant. Still, one would think that with all of the brain power at the U that there would be a means of solving that problem--seems to me with Obama's push to go green there must be grants available for these kinds of projects. At least they are committing to saving the Wick Pollack--I thought for sure they were going to let that one go to the ground.

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14projectgeniene(87 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

How about gutting it and making it a venue for foreign/indie films as well as a performance art space. It would be a cool ambiance.

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15tylersclark(182 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

The Butler North church is (or was?) showing indie films on Wednesdays.

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