To be determined: Kilcawley’s future

An outside view of Kilcawley Center. Photo by Viktoryia Paliakovich / The Jambar

By Samantha Smith

Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center plans to change in the future. After a board of trustees meeting Sept. 21, YSU President Jim Tressel said the board should come to a resolution about the future of Kilcawley in its December meeting.

Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president of Student Experience, explained what changes would be in store for the building.

“We’re looking at a renovation, really looking at reimagining what our Student Union will look like,” Byers said. “We have reduced the square footage and what we’re looking at bringing, but making sure it’s modern enough and flexible enough to meet the students’ needs as we continue to grow.”

John Young, executive director of Student Experience, said the new designs, with the smaller square footage will allow a better flow and use of the building. This includes having sections that would be independent of the building and give the Student Union the ability to have additional weekend or evening hours based on student requests or events.

Young also said why the Kilcawley building was considered for renovation.

“The challenge for us when we were looking at spaces and looking at some of the other student unions in the state and even around the country, ours kind of really fell in comparison to some of the new modern designs,” he said.

Blueprints of revonations for Kilcawley Center. / Photo courtesy of Joyce Polkabla Byers

Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center and Kilcawley House will not be affected during the renovation. Byers explained part of the reconstruction includes making Kilcawley a better  pathway for students through the center of campus, the residence hall and the Rec Center. 

Tressel discussed how the university will fund the renovations and how long it could take. 

“Our plan, as approved by the board of trustees, is that we’ll be able to take some long-term bonds out that can be paid over three or four decades with the idea that we’ll be able to raise significant dollars and pay off some early,” he said.

Tressel went on to mention the fundraising plans the university has for this project.

“Fundraising will be a big part, and the fact that we’ll have a new student center gives us the opportunity to have a lot of new naming opportunities,” he said. “In fundraising, you go out and try to get some of the largest gifts. The naming of a building would be a large gift. For instance, if you want a classroom named after you, it’s $100,000. If you want a chair for a faculty member, it’s $1.5 million. If you want a building, it’s $5 million. “

Byers said she hopes to have a webpage for the Student Union created soon to give students updates about the Student Union and have a chance to leave feedback through the page.