Renovations to YSU's iconic Jones Hall recognized by MV Historical Society

Jones Hall, pictured here last summer covered in scaffolding, underwent significant improvements, including replacing the building's original slate roof.
Recent improvements to the exterior of Jones Hall, the signature building on the campus of Youngstown State University, have been recognized with the Community Revitalization Award from the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

The award was presented to Ellen Tressel, YSU alum and the wife of YSU President Jim Tressel, and Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, at the Historical Society’s annual meeting earlier this month. Tressel and McFadden nominated the project for the award.

“As the iconic structure on the YSU campus, Jones Hall symbolizes the university's historic commitment to higher education,” said Rich White, YSU director of Planning and Construction. “These improvements will help restore and maintain the original look and feel to the building's exterior for many years to come.”

Jones Hall, at the corner of Wick and Lincoln avenues, has a storied history dating back to its opening in 1931. At that time, Jones Hall was known as “Old Main” and served as the college’s primary instructional and administrative building. The building is named after YSU’s first president, Howard Jones, and it has evolved over the years, most notably in 1949 when a major addition, Clarence J. Strouss Auditorium, was added. The building again received a major renovation in 1978 when the majority of the classroom space was converted into offices.

In 2015, university Facilities began the planning process for the exterior restoration of the building. The project, under the supervision of Facilities, began last summer.

The original slate roof was removed and replaced by the Charles F. Evans Co. from Elmira, N.Y., with new slate supplied by the Evergreen Slate Co. of Middle Granville, N.Y. The new slate was matched in both color and dimension to the original slate, which is of a gray-green color. In addition, all rotted substructure was repaired or replaced, and some of the building exterior stones that had moved over the years were re-set and tuck-pointed. Along with the new slate roof, all flashings, gutters and down spouting were replaced with new copper.

Meanwhile, two pieces of slate from the roof saved during the renovation project are now on display in University Archives in Maag Library.

Cassie Nespor, curator of University Archives, said the slate was collected by Chris Wentz, assistant director of Network Security, who gave them to Jay Wargacki, manager of the Additive Manufacturing Lab in Moser Hall. Wargacki called University Archives to get a scanned image of Jones Hall from the 1930s, which he used to create printing designs. He then used a laser printer to create an etched look of Jones Hall on one of the stones, and he used a UV printer to print the image of Jones Hall directly onto the other slate.

Videos of the slates being printed are available on the YSU Archives Facebook page