$235,000 Property Purchase Could House YSU STEM Competition Teams

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown State University engineering and engineering technology competition teams could have a new home after the latest real estate purchase by the university.

During its regular meeting Monday, the Ohio Controlling Board approved YSU’s $235,000 purchase of a piece of property at 150 W. Rayen Ave. downtown. The space is currently leased and occupied by Youngstown Plant & Flower Inc.

The 0.462-acre property includes a 9,661-square-foot warehouse situated near the southern border of campus. It’s part of a 1.94-acre block bordered by Lincoln Avenue, Hazel Street and Elm Street, and is situated between parcels already owned by YSU to develop parking and retail space.

According to documents from the controlling board, YSU is interested in acquiring the rest of the property in the block as it becomes available for sale. 

“It’s a pretty strategic piece of property,” says Rich White, director of planning and construction for YSU. “There is still some talk about what that area’s going to be and what’s going to happen in the building.”

One possibility cited in controlling board documents is for the building to be used by students in YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM. That includes housing the university’s NASA Lunabotics, Baja SAE, SAE Super Mileage and Steel Bridge teams, which represent YSU in annual regional, national and international competitions.

“Currently, the teams are scattered throughout different floors within a University academic building and, as such, it is difficult for the teams to interact with and learn from each other,” according to the controlling board document. “It is also difficult for the teams to share common resources efficiently and effectively.”

The property would keep all teams in one location, but with enough space for each to have their own area.

A source with Youngstown Plant & Flower declined to comment on the future of the company.

The controlling board also approved the release of capital funds for two projects on YSU campus. 

A sum of $258,735 from the Workforce Based Training & Equipment fund will go toward the purchase of sole source equipment from vendors for the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills, or RAPIDS program. The approval includes a waiver of competitive selection for the purchases.

The equipment will be purchased for the Excellence Training Center on YSU campus, which opened last week. Equipment to be purchased includes:

  • FANUC M-900iB/360+ software and floor mounting plate
  • FANUC 3DV iRVision fixed package, cables and installation
  • PLC-HMI-CL-RTU-SEQ-000 human machine interface touch screen
  • Fixed iRVision stand and camera mount
  • Crating of robot and fixed camera stand
  • FANUC co-robot CRX-10A/L Cert Cart w/ training
  • CRX mobile robot training cart
  • Schunk CoAct collaborative, two-jaw, parallel gripper-CAG w cable
  • Project based learning kit; peg board part locating template
  • Fenceless FANUC iRVision 2D Guidance Hardware and Software Vision
  • CRX-Series collaborative robot operations and programming
  • Shipping and handling

Additionally, the controlling board approved $166,500 for upgrades to YSU’s utility distribution system, which includes an electrical substation, a central utility plant and a tunnel distribution system that contains data, electrical wiring, steam lines and chilled water lines. Most of the system was constructed more than 30 years ago and is in need of upgrades.

The project will address the aging utility infrastructure to minimize utility service disruption for the campus. It will also expand campus utilities to buildings currently not serviced by the tunnel distribution system, including the Excellence Training Center, White says. 

In January, YSU posted an RFQ for architectural/engineering design services and received 14 proposals from companies around the state. GPD Group in Akron was awarded the contract.

For construction work, White hopes to bid the job around February then go back to the controlling board in March for the construction dollars and hopefully have the construction contractor lined up by April. The goal is to have the project completed by August or September 2022.

Pictured: YSU purchased the property at 150 W. Rayen Ave. for $235,000.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.