A Change of Plans for Melnick Hall Renovations

Plans to fully renovate Melnick Hall have been indefinitely put on hold, but WYSU will still move into the building.
Plans to fully renovate Melnick Hall have been indefinitely put on hold, but WYSU will still move into the building.

In a committee meeting held last Wednesday, board members agreed to put plans for a full renovation of Melnick Hall on hold indefinitely.

The journalism and telecommunications departments, The Jambar, The News Outlet, Rookery Radio and WYSU were expected to move into Melnick Hall this fall semester.

Due to a shortfall of funds, however, only basic structural repair work will be completed in Melnick, allowing just WYSU to move into the space.

“The money that was going to be used for [the Melnick renovation] was some capital money from the state and some bond funding, but even with those two sources of funding, there was a shortfall,” said Teri Riley, associate provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

As associate provost, Riley serves as the administrative liaison on the major projects committee, which deals with facilities issues. She said WYSU will move into Melnick Hall because they were capable of raising funds.

“Given the nature of WYSU — with their semiannual fundraising campaigns — their member supported donor base … was more well established than the donor base for, you know, telecommunications or Rookery Radio,” Riley said. “The plan was to see if money could be raised. And there was money raised, but the only money that’s been raised is money that’s been designated to support WYSU. So, there was not additional money raised to support the other units.”

The board’s decision to put renovation plans indefinitely on hold came as a surprise to members of the YSU Department of Communication.

“I think it was unexpected among the people involved with the project. Maybe it will give us time to refine our plans so that when and if the project becomes active again, we would be able to collaborate for a facility that will even better support our students and programs,” said Fred Owens, a professor in the communication department.

Kenny Reyes, a library and media technical assistant and advisor to Rookery Radio, added that the board’s decision was a disappointment.

“The only thing I have to say is darn,” Reyes said. “It would be nice to be a part of a new facility, but we’ll continue to operate Rookery as we normally would.”

The committee’s decision to hold renovation plans for Melnick Hall must be approved by the entire board; the next full board meeting is scheduled for March 12.

Riley concluded that it is still uncertain as to whether Melnick will ever be fully renovated to house YSU’s communication-related programs.

“We’ll have to wait and see how it all settles out to see what actually happens,” she said.