Economic Development

High Bids Delay Work on Innovation Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Planers for the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center have to go back to the drawing board – and their calculators – to rebid construction of the proposed training and research center. 

Michael Hripko, vice president of external affairs, government relations and economic development at Youngstown State University, said this morning that bids came in higher than anticipated for the center, which is to be built in the former Mahoning County misdemeanant jail downtown.

YSU is one of the partners developing the center, along with Eastern Gateway Community College, area career and technical centers, Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes. 

The objective is to create an environment that mimics a manufacturing plant. “We’re trying to mimic a teaching hospital,” Hripko said. 

The status of the training center is among the topics Hripko addressed during a meeting of the Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors Wednesday morning. 

Bids came in higher than expected because of the economic environment, Hripko said. 

“One of the disadvantages of a robust economy is construction bids are going up,” he said. The partners are working with the project architect to reduce costs and rebid the work, though Hripko could not say when the new bids would be let or construction might begin.

The state of Ohio has allocated $7 million for the project. YSU has also received $1 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $2 million from the U.S. Department of Economic Development for the project. The university will raise an additional $14 million through an ongoing capital campaign led by the YSU Foundation. 

Earlier plans called for the center opening in 2020. The project is expected to take 11 months to complete. 

“It’s still technically feasible but it will depend on what we hear back for the rebid,” Hripko said. 

Pictured: A rendering of the interior of the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.