Preservation Merit Award
for the preservation and rehabilitation of the 1911 Youngstown YWCA Building
The Youngstown YWCA has been an institution in Mahoning County since its construction in 1911. The original building and a 1916 addition served the needs of women in the areas of housing, dining, vocational training and physical education. A pool addition provided space for a growing swim program in the early 1950's. In the 1950’s and again in the 1980’s major interior renovations destroyed or covered up much of the historic fabric of the interior and a window replacement project changed the exterior appearance of the building.
Beginning in 1996, and in keeping with the new mission statement of the National YWCA, "Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women," the leadership of the YWCA initiated a study to examine renovation issues and what was needed for the 100 year old building to meet the new Mission Statement and restore its historic character.
A Master Plan for the interior was developed to reprogram the building into new living spaces, educational spaces, empowerment spaces, administrative offices and to restore the original main lobby, the historic gym, and all historic corridors. The rehabilitation project got underway in 2010.
Major interior renovation transformed previous dormitory style units into 30 one-bedroom apartments, but the historic corridors were retained including doors, transoms, trim and ceilings. The 2-story gymnasium was repurposed as a gathering room and previous renovations on the first floor were demolished to restore the space to its original arrangement. The historic front lobby had retained the most significant architectural features of columns, decorative ceiling beams, wainscoting and fireplaces and these were retained and refurbished.
The exterior renovation was as transforming as the interior work. The 1951 pool was removed, the west entrance was made ADA accessible, and a new elevator was installed within the building. The brick and terra cotta were cleaned, repointed and repaired. Paint was removed from the columns, and extensive structural repairs were made to the entrance cornice and balustrade. New windows with trim to match the original wood window trim were installed on the first through fifth floors with mullions replicated from old photos and drawings. The facility also is a Green Communities certified development project utilizing high efficiency HVAC and water systems.
The YWCA begins its second century as part of the fabric of downtown Youngstown. This project, which benefitted from both state and federal historic tax credits, is a valued part of community revitalization efforts in Youngstown.
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Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.