Building for a better future

This summer, DeBartolo and Cushwa halls are part of a $1.9 million renovation project, which will completely redo staff offices, lobby areas and entrances to the buildings.

And it’s about time, too.

Jay Gordon, an associate professor of English, said in a Facebook post on May 24 that “Most of the furniture — all the way down to the wastebaskets — is filthy, dented, and scratched after what in most cases is over thirty years of use (and neglect). The walls and carpet, which will be updated next summer, have been wearing out and accumulating dirt for decades, too. Wiping down file cabinets often leaves paper towels yellowed — from the days when people smoked in here (an era that ended in 1988).”

These projects are much needed and welcomed by everyone, from students to faculty. Upgrading buildings makes the campus look nicer. A nicer looking campus can make current students happier — or at least want to be here — and will make Youngstown State University more attractive to prospective students.

However, what needs to be taken care of first?

Which renovations are most important? Right now, there are also renovations going on underneath one of the Kilcalwey Center loading docks, where the underground service tunnels were crumbling, posing a danger to anyone in the tunnels or above, loading and unloading the trucks that bring in food and supplies daily. Is that any more or less important than the renovations going on in two academic buildings?

Some will say no, and some will say yes. There will never be a complete agreement on anything, especially on a process that will cost the university almost $2 million. But there is no doubt that waiting until it’s almost too late to fix something cannot become the norm.

Gordon, in a comment on his Facebook post, said, “In fairness to the institution, there are some big renovation projects happening on campus. What we need is a system, so things don’t get so bad again.” A system, one functioning almost like checklist, would improve the quality of the buildings and instill a “before it’s too late” approach to necessary repairs.

With a new university president, and presumably a new cabinet as well, coming in, now is the perfect time to set up a system for determining when renovations will get done. Hopefully, those with the power to prevent another “it’s about time” situation that is currently happening in DeBartolo and Cushwa halls heed this advice.