Outdoor commons coming to campus

By Nicholas Bianco
Jambar Contributor

Youngstown State University will have a new outdoor common area on the lawn between DeBartolo Hall and Lincoln Avenue by spring 2025.

The project is an initiative of Student Government Association. Jordan Pintar, president of SGA, said the plan is to make the space welcoming to students.   

“Our goal is to be able to put something there to attract students to that area,” Pintar said. “Essentially, just bringing more vibrant liveliness to that spot that is now open.”

The location of the lawn was previously part of the M60 parking deck. In August 2023, the deck was replaced with the M60 parking lot, freeing up space for the lawn. 

According to Pintar, the common area will resemble the Daniel H. Becker Family Fountain Commons.

“One thing that I really love about our campus is we have a ton of trees per square foot on our campus,” Pintar said. “[The lawn] would be a great place to add trees, bushes and shade so that it’s kind of resembling the environment that the fountain is right now.”

Pintar and SGA Executive Vice President Sofia Meyers met with YSU President Bill Johnson on Feb. 14 to discuss the project’s progress and funding. Pintar said Johnson directed SGA to the newly established Government Affairs Office, which can help with funding. 

“There is state and federal grant opportunities for the beautification of college campuses. So, we are looking to continue that conversation to get one of those grants secured to make this a reality,” Pintar said.

Pintar said Johnson expressed enthusiasm in making the area a nature-oriented space for the community. 

“We mentioned a [Pete the Penguin] statue that we’re hoping to get, and he really loved that idea,” Pintar said. “It’s just going to be making sure we can actually make it feasible.”

The project’s first goal is to put solar panel tables on the lawn, giving students a place to do work, charge electronic devices and eat lunch. 

Myers said SGA representatives are collaborating on what else should be placed in the common area.  

“We’re just looking into options on what we could possibly do with that [to] better impact students and the community members and get people more involved on campus and just create a better space in that area,” Myers said.

Other ideas for the space include incorporating art statues, an archway, trees, bushes and an amphitheater. 

At an SGA meeting, Parliamentarian Austin Winger-Kailer suggested placing an electronic billboard in the area to promote campus events.

“There’s flyers and stuff around, but sometimes it doesn’t get around to everybody,” Winger-Kailer said. “It would be a nice addition for everyone to kind of know what’s going on.” 

Pintar said she hopes to bring a Rotary Club-sponsored little library to the area. SGA has been implementing little libraries on campus since the fall semester.

“We have a little library the community really loves,” Pintar said. “I’ve seen a lot of people use that and I think that that green space would also be another great space for that little library.” 

The common area project is expected to begin fall 2024.