On Standby: YSU Prepared to Curtail Energy

A fresh batch of concrete is smoothed outside Beeghly Hall in preparation for the fall semester.
A fresh batch of concrete is smoothed outside Beeghly Hall in preparation for the fall semester.

To improve the university’s aesthetic appeal and ensure the long-term health of the school’s infrastructure, Youngstown State University will utilize the summer months to update its buildings and facilities.

Updates and renovations include concrete and lighting replacements on the campus core; parking deck improvements; elevator upgrades in Maag Library and the Lincoln building; roofing repairs across campus; generator upgrades; new flooring in Beeghly Center; and renovations on floors two, three and four of DeBartolo Hall.

Rich White, director of planning and construction, coordinated these summer projects, working with contracts and facilitating discussion between architects and engineers. He said the projects will cost the university around $7.5 million.

“This is probably the busiest I think I’ve seen summer since I’ve been here,” he said. “I think my plan construction team is doing a great job. There’s a lot of stuff going on on this campus this summer, and we’re hitting it pretty hard. And, I think it’s going to make an impact.”

White expects summer updates to have a positive effect on student life, attracting new students to the university — an important outcome for a school that has experienced a decline in enrollment.

“When you walk into a building, all the spaces should look updated and fresh,” White said. “That’s certainly going to help with recruitment and retention — when [students] see something that’s kind of new.”

Updates will not only attract new students, they are also expected to benefit current students by improving the school’s learning environment.

“We certainly don’t want [students] to come and have something disrupt them so much that they actually notice it, like lights going out or tripping over concrete that’s heaved up or things like that. We want to have them focused on their studies and have their time at YSU be enjoyable,” White said.

It is a regular practice to make these improvements during the summer because the university’s facilities have the lowest usage during these months.

John Hyden, executive director of the facilities office, explained that the university’s tight budget limits the amount of projects that can be completed. Despite budgeting issues, though, Hyden indicated that the university remains “in pretty good shape operationally.”

“We’ve got a lot of work that needs to get done on campus. We kind of tried to prioritize what we need to get done and match that up with the available funds that we have. Obviously, we would like to get a whole lot more done, but time and money will only allow so much,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ve chosen the best projects for the summer, and I think clearly they are going to make some improvements.”