Youngstown State University has continuously proposed new construction plans and ideas for over the past four years, but recently the university has chosen to consider renovating Kilcawley Center.
With the decision to demolish the Lincoln Avenue parking deck, YSU is pushing for one of two options: a new Kilcawley Center where the old deck is or the renovation of the currently standing center.
To renovate the center would be a mistake as the building opened in 1974 and isn’t even the oldest building on campus. Fedor Hall was built in 1949, Jones Hall was constructed in 1931 and Fok Hall, the oldest building on campus, was built in 1893, according to YSU’s catalog.
Ward Beecher Hall, erected in 1958, underwent construction and additions until 1997 and has suffered from leaking roofs and several eyesores to the outside of the building for some time and could use renovations more than Kilcawley.
In addition to the fact that other YSU buildings need improvements more, the question of what would happen to everything housed inside Kilcawley remains.
Kilcawley is home to not only the majority of dining options on campus, but it also houses study locations for students. With renovations happening inside of the building, studying — alongside dining peacefully — would be interrupted and near impossible.
Penguin Xing, Accessibility Services, Student Counseling, Conference Services, Graphics Services, the Resch Center for Academic Success, Student Government and Student Media are all housed inside Kilcawley Center, alongside many other important services for students. If Kilcawley undergoes construction, would these services vacate or would they work under risky, loud and chaotic conditions?
Renovation isn’t a new conversation for the Kilcawley Center, as renovation talks date all the way back to 2011 when the university failed to follow through on renovations to the center and reallocated funds to other buildings according to both a 2011 and a 2013 archived Vindicator article.
YSU hasn’t shied away from simple repairs before the decision to fully renovate the building was approved. Bathrooms in Kilcawley next to the Dunkin’ Donuts are the most recent updates, with newly working accessibility buttons to open the doors.
Repairs around Kilcawley don’t just stop there. YSU had bids out for contractors to work on various things in the center since July 2021 as seen in a recent bid sheet on the ysu website.
On websites for contractors, YSU has several renovations contracts up for repairs to bathrooms, costing $180,000; plans for new doors, hardware and mechanical grilles, costing $25,000; and plans to renovate rooms 1034 and room 1035 at $76,500 according to Construction Journal.
Existing plans for Kilcawley Center, separate from the newly-proposed project — totaling to the amount of $285,000 — include restroom repairs, improved plumbing and electrical systems, and other superficial repairs.