Industry Report

Multiple Building Projects Keep Contractors, Architects Busy

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Larry Lencyk, president and owner of Lencyk Masonry Co., Boardman, quickly rattles off a list of ongoing and upcoming building projects for his company.

They include Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Services’ 110,475-square-foot senior living complex in Liberty Township, Sweeney Buick GMC’s new dealership building in Boardman and an orthopedic center in the township. 

In all, Lencyk totals about 30 projects worth some $18 million in and outside of the Mahoning Valley. Most of the work outside the area is school projects, he notes.  

“It’s very, very busy – probably as busy as I’ve seen it in the last 20 years,” Lencyk says. Restoration work, including two jobs at Youngstown State University, is a growing portion of the business, he adds. 

The Shepherd of the Valley Liberty complex, one of a couple projects Lencyk is working on with Hubbard-based DeSalvo Construction, is occupying several local contractors this summer and beyond. That work represents a $2 million project for Lencyk, he says. 

Work began last fall on the $31 million complex and is scheduled to be done next summer, reports Andy Bednar, principal of Baker Bednar Snyder and Associates Inc., Howland. 

As project architect, the firm acts as “the owner’s agent,” providing construction administration services throughout the building process, Bednar says. That encompasses attending weekly meetings, visiting the job site to respond to any concerns and making sure the project moves along smoothly. 

“I would say our plate is nicely full and we’ve got a good number of strong projects in the future,” Bednar says. 

Recent and current projects include the Sweeney Buick GMC project, which DeSalvo is working on as well; the recently finished new Canfield branch for 717 Credit Union and the 717 branch in Warren that’s nearing completion. “As a result of those two [717] projects, we are looking at a renovation to the former Larchmont branch in Warren to serve additional corporate requirements,” Bednar says.  

The firm does a lot of work for Trumbull Regional Medical Center and other health-care providers in the region, he adds. 

Another local architectural firm, BSHM Architects Inc. in Youngstown, has projects in all aspects of its work, which includes design, development, documentation and construction administration, reports John Orsini, principal. Types of projects range from “small maintenance stuff” to K-12 buildings.  

The firm’s workload includes a project for Berkshire Local Schools in Burton as well as housing work at the College of Wooster as part of a multiyear plan. “We do various studies for them to see what’s working best,” Orsini says.  

BSHM Architects is renovating some of the college’s older dorms to better suit their modern uses, with more public spaces to allow for gatherings and collaboration “as opposed to just a series of dorm rooms, one after another,” he says.

Demolition crews make way for more apartments near Youngstown State University. The $12 million Campus Lofts project is slated to open fall 2020.

At RBF CoLab, Youngstown, the biggest project on Paul Hagman’s plate is the upcoming renovation of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County’s Main Library. RBF CoLab, which specializes in historic preservation architecture, is working with Cleveland-based Bostwick Design Partnership, hired in April as the architect for the project. 

The historic nature of the project – the library opened in 1910 – appeals to Hagman because of the “unique quality of the craftsmanship” of the older building, he says. In addition, understanding the materials and how they went together a century ago presents an interesting challenge, as well as figuring out how to design the building to last another century.  

“We’re just at the beginning stages of doing that project right now,” Hagman says. “Right now, we’re still defining what it is the whole project is going to entail. There’s a lot of moving pieces so we want to make sure we’re all on the same page.”  

Shepherd of the Valley is just one of the projects keeping busy the employees of  Boak & Sons Inc., Austintown. The company is installing architectural metal panels at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and is preparing to do work at the Angels for Animals expansion in Canfield. Boak & Sons also worked on the 717 Credit Union branches in Warren and Canfield and installed roofing, architectural panels, fascia and soffits at the new Belmont Avenue headquarters of The Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.     

“We’re very blessed, very busy,” reports Sam Boak, Boak & Sons Inc. owner and president of The Builders Association. “Pretty much all your good, quality builders are extremely busy right now.” 

Paul Johnson, president of Adolph Johnson & Son Co., Mineral Ridge, says he has about 40 people in the field. Among the general contractor’s projects are Sheetz gas station and convenience stores in Canfield and Stow and in Hermitage, Pa. Each of the projects is valued at about $1.5 million.  

Other upcoming building projects include the new fire-training center at the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center and the Salem High School Alumni Association’s building.

“The future is bright,” Johnson says. “There’s going to be a lot of work, everything from industrial to institutional. Things are looking good.”  

Weather remains a concern for contractors, particularly given the wet spring this year, although much of the rain fell on the weekends and after work hours, Lencyk says. “We’ve dodged the raindrops pretty well, even though it has been a pretty wet start to spring,” he says. 

“It seems like the seasons don’t really dictate how busy we are anymore,” Johnson observes. “It’s more a matter of who needs what when, and doing what we need to do to get it done for them regardless of the time of the year.”

Boak acknowledges the weather conditions caused a backlog for those contractors who “didn’t want to take the chance on working in adverse weather” because they “wanted to give the customer a quality product.” 

The contractors are optimistic about the steady workflow continuing. Lencyk and his four full-time estimators are busy, he reports. “I foresee a very good work outlook for the foreseeable future,” he says.  

Adolph Johnson & Son is staying busy within a 50-mile radius of Youngstown, and Johnson says the schedule is filling, but not yet at capacity. “We’re still looking for more work but I feel very confident that we’ll have a very busy year.”

Pictured above: DeSalvo Construction is working on the $12.3 million Community Literacy Workforce & Cultural Center in Campbell.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.