YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – When South Field House opened in 1940, it was Youngstown’s premier basketball facility. Today, it’s owned by the City of Youngstown, and city officials would like to see it used again.
So, on Wednesday, from 3 to 7 p.m., Youngstown will be hosting an open house at South Field House. There will be a second open house on October 20.
People are being asked to check it out, to come with masks, hard hats, ideas — and money.
Youngstown Parks Director Dawn Turnage couldn’t help but reminisce as she walked down an aisle at South Field House Tuesday.
“You can almost hear one of those rival games, can’t you? The Rayen against South High,” she said.
But beyond the reminiscing, there are few signs of the glory days. There’s a large piece of glass missing from a window, paint is peeling everywhere, a drop ceiling in a locker room has collapsed and the basketball court — once the featured attraction — is covered with bird droppings.
“But we definitely know there’s a lot that needs to be done here. The last appraisal we had there was $1.2 million in renovations that needed to be done,” Turnage said.
“If you see the lighting around here, it all needs updating. You can hear the lights humming,” said Jerry Gordon, maintenance supervisor.
Gordon has been with the Youngstown Parks Department for 28 years.
“The structure, I believe, is sound. Other than the roof and the outer walls in some of the areas may need some work,” he said.
Before the building can be used, the roof, the windows and the electrical system all need replaced. There’s also asbestos that must be removed.
“I see the potential here,” Turnage said.
Turnage would not only like South Field House to once again be used as a recreation complex.
“But also our healthcare, an opportunity for our senior adult living individuals to come here and utilize this space for health and wellness,” she said.
City officials have no idea what kind of ideas will be proposed — and who will be proposing them. They’ll also consider partnering with someone if they have plan.