Stambaugh Auditorium Turns on New Exterior Lighting

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With the flip of a switch Wednesday evening, a new era in the storied history of Stambaugh Auditorium began.

New lighting that bathes the stately exterior of the building, including its pillars, was turned on just before dusk before a gathering of donors, elected officials and members of the construction team. The lights shimmered in ever-changing colors along the Fifth Avenue side of the building and also the south face, making it visible for a great distance.

The lighting will be turned on every evening, although special light shows like the one Wednesday evening will be reserved for certain days or events.

Eric Bella, an engineer for CJL Engineering of Youngstown, played a key role in designing and installing the lighting. “We wanted it to bring attention to the building,” Bella said. “We tried to key on the architectural features, including the frieze [above the pillars].”

CJL had to adhere to guidelines that govern such work on historic buildings. The lighting fixtures had to “disappear” so as to not take away from the aesthetics of the structure. This was done by recessing the fixtures in spots where they cannot be seen, such as at the base of the pillars pointing up, and in the base of the frieze.

The lighting is a key part of the ongoing $4.1 million renovation of Stambaugh, which includes the reconstruction of the monumental staircase along Fifth Avenue, the reconstruction of the promenade at the base of the staircase, adding handicapped accessibility ramps, and the cleaning and restoration of the facade.

Matt Pagac, CEO and chief operating officer of Stambaugh, said the programmable LED facade lighting provides a full spectrum of colors.

Lighting has also been added to the new handrails on the staircase and within the handicapped accessibility ramp. Energy-efficient wall packs and electrical outlets have been installed for added illumination and to maximize electrical capacity for exterior events.

Wednesday’s lighting event also marked the beginning of the final phase of fundraising and construction for the building’s renovation project.

“We are very close to completion of the project and are waiting on the finishing touches such as hardware for the entry doors, some final electrical work, and landscaping,” Pagac said.

The project should be completed by mid-June with a ribbon-cutting tentatively scheduled for June 14, he said.

JoAnn Stock, chief development officer for Stambaugh, reported that the capital campaign committee is working to raise the additional $500,000 needed to complete the project. The committee is led by co-chairs Bill Conti, emeritus board member; and Scott Schulick, vice president of the Stambaugh board of directors.

Stock noted that restoration of the monumental staircase is vital to the preservation of the 1926 building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

She reported that over $3.6 million has been raised for the project, with significant gift commitments coming from local foundations. Among them: $750,000 in gifts from trusts managed by Huntington Bank including gifts of $250,000 from The Frank and Pearl Gelbman Foundation, $250,000 from the Ward Beecher and Florence Simon Beecher Foundation and $250,000 from the Hynes-Finnegan Foundation; The Youngstown Foundation with a total of $750,000 including funds from the Hine Memorial Fund, the Williamson Fund, the Darling Fund; and the Monday Musical Fund; $175,000 from the Betty H. Brown Jagnow Revocable Trust; $150,000 from the John S. and Doris M. Andrews Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley; $75,000 from the Pollock Personal and Company Foundations; $60,000 from the J. Ford Crandall Foundation; $50,000 from the Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; and $30,000 from the Premier Bank Foundation.

Additionally, $1,350,000 has been committed through the state of Ohio Capital Budget appropriation.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.