Kilcawley Center to be updated

By Kayla Duley

Youngstown State University is looking into ways of either revamping Kilcawley Center or tearing it down and rebuilding. 

YSU President Jim Tressel announced in November during the State of University address that Kilcawley Center is 47 years old.

“You have to make the decision. Do you invest? Do you renovate? Do you tear down? What do you do?” Tressel said. 

Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president for the division of student experience, helps run the committee for the revised Kilcawley Center plans. She said committee members are working with an architectural company called WTW Architects out of Pittsburgh.

“We are also looking at other campuses, like Bowling Green, to see what they have,” Polkabla Byers said.

Polkabla Byers said as of now, the committee is in the process of assessing the five-year timeframe, and it won’t have anything to formally share until April. 

“The university has to determine how it’s going to pay for the revitalization, whether it’d be donations, or a bond the university will have to pay off, the committee [is] still trying to figure out what is best for the university,” Polkabla Byers said.

Provost Brien Smith said the remodeling of Kilcawley Center is in a planning phase and reports are being made. He said it’s not correct to say the construction of Kilcawley Center will start anytime soon. He also said this is one study the university is engaged in to see if the project is worth the university’s investment.

“We would hope that a remodeled Kilcawley Center would serve students’ needs better, make it a more attractive place to convene with friends, to study, to grow, to worship — whatever it is that students do,” Smith said.

Student Government Association President Nicholas Koupiaris said students can participate in focus groups and go on trips to the other universities to see what they have on their campus. SGA Vice President Gianna Battaglia said if any student wants to join a focus group or visit a different university, they are more than welcome to. 

“We have brought in a lot of focus groups, and most of those groups have included students. We want to know what students want,” Koupiaris said.

The committee has trips planned for the rest of December to visit Toledo University, Bowling Green State University, University of Akron and Kent State University to check out what their student unions offer and to see how their campus buildings could influence those at YSU.

Kevin Francis, a senior majoring in information technology, said he likes Kilcawley the way it is now.

“I don’t think it needs to change. I would like to see more food options though. There are quite a few that other universities have that we don’t,” Francis said. 

Austin Angus, a junior majoring in vocal music education, said he’d love to see the new ideas. He said he wouldn’t want the entire building to be changed and it would be nice for some of the building to be set aside for honoring and preserving its history.

“As much as I love Kilcawley and the history inside, I would love to see Kilcawley turned into a more modern building with more natural light,” Angus said.

Ravyn Mehle, a junior majoring in social work, said she didn’t know the university had these plans. She doesn’t believe it should change much, but she is excited what comes next. 

“Another student lounge in there might be nice, with more accessible seating instead of just ‘The Cove.’ I like the food options so I don’t care if they change that,” Mehle said.

Maxine Fife, a senior majoring in primary intervention specialist, said she doesn’t wish it would change.

“Kilcawley is very dated, but I like that about it. All of the restaurants in there I like as well,” Fife said.

Mike Morris, a junior majoring in telecommunications, said the center is great but wished it had more food options.

“I would like to see a chicken wing place, something like Quaker Steak & Lube, on campus. I feel if you have a chicken wing place, college students will really love that, especially after game days,” Morris said.

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