Education

State Budget Proposes $4M for YSU Innovation Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University hopes to secure $4 million included in the Ohio General Assembly’s proposed 2019-2020 biennial budget to help fund the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center downtown.

If approved, it would be the second consecutive budget bill that included a special allocation for the project. The Innovation Center was previously awarded $3 million during the 2017-2018 capital budget.

“This is a project that is important for YSU, for our regional manufacturing sector, for our local school districts and for the economic future of the entire Mahoning Valley,” said YSU President Jim Tressel in a release. “We thank the leaders of the great state of Ohio for their belief in our collaborative proposal.”

The state’s total contribution of $7 million is being used to renovate the former Mahoning County misdemeanant jail at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West Commerce Street, where the new center will be housed. The project has received an additional $1 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission and another $2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

An ongoing capital campaign led by the YSU Foundation has targeted raising another $14 million toward the project.

YSU, Eastern Gateway Community College, county career and technical centers, the Youngstown Business Incubator, America Makes, the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, and a host of regional economic development organizations are collaborating on the new center.

Once completed, the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center will serve as a shared resource training and education laboratory open to the public. The center will encourage research and development, workforce training, and entrepreneurship with a focus on advanced manufacturing.

The Innovation Center would include equipment that enable manufacturing processes such as 3-D printing.

YSU also received an additional $10.6 million in the proposed capital bill that provides funding for other campus building projects. Among these earmarks are $2.3 million toward renovations and the expansion of the physical therapy program at Cushwa Hall, $1.75 million for structural improvements at Ward Beecher Science Hall, $1.5 million for renovations to the pedestrian bridge spanning Wick Avenue, $1.1 million for campus roof replacements, $1 million toward renovations to Fedor Hall, and $684,000 for building envelope renovations.

Pictured at top: Rendering of what the center’s interior could look like.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.