By Alyssa Weston
Youngstown State University and LRC Realty announced two expansions to campus, Mercy Health Clinic and Chipotle Mexican Grill, scheduled to arrive in March 2019 outside of The Enclave during a pep rally on Friday.
Eddie Howard, vice president for student affairs, welcomed the crowd of YSU students, faculty and community members who braved the cold weather to hear the announcement.
Gary O’Nesti, special projects director for LRC Realty and YSU alumnus, thanked YSU trustees, administration and staff, as well as the Youngstown court authority and Youngstown city council for their help in making the project a reality.
“This is an exciting time for us, a great year to get these projects started,” O’Nesti said.
Frank Licata, president of LRC Realty and YSU alumnus, said it was “amazing” to see amount of folks that turned out for the rally.
“Without the transformation that has taken place [at YSU] over the last few years with President Tressel and his staff we wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
Licata promoted President Tressel, assisted by Pete the Penguin, to unveil a large sign that read “Coming Soon. Mercy Health.” with The Enclave and YSU logo at the bottom of the sign.
“[Mercy Health is a] significant health care provider in the U.S., and a great addition to our campus. We are excited to have them as part of The Enclave,” Licata said.
Dr. John Luellen, CEO of Mercy Health Youngstown, said he is excited about the opportunity.
“It’s not everyday that an organization has the opportunities to be able to build upon an affinity relationship like we have with Youngstown State University,” Dr. Luellen said.
In Dr. Luellen’s opinion, what Mercy Health Youngstown can bring to students, faculty, staff and to the Youngstown community is rather unique.
“We have the ability to build upon a successful platform of the provision of care by increasing access to care, care integration and the quality of care,” he said.
Dr. Luellen said access to care is an issue for “all of us,” and [the Youngstown community] needs to be able to get the right care at the right time and place.
“[Mercy Health Youngstown] has a very busy emergency department not far away, but most care people need does not require an emergency department. It can be cared for in a clinic. [Mercy Health Youngstown] wants to have access to a clinic on your campus,” he said to the crowd.
Dr. Luellen stated access to the clinic would go beyond “normal” business hours and that community members can track their health records and files through the My Health Application on their cell phones and devices.
“Something [Mercy Health Youngstown] is very proud is that compared to the other 43 hospitals across the Mercy Health Enterprise in seven states now, the facilities here in the Mahoning Valley pass some of the highest objective measures of quality at the level of the primary care office. That’s what we really hope to bring to this site,” he said.
Licata then promoted president Tressel and Pete the Penguin, to unveil the second sign that read “Coming Soon. Chipotle Mexican Grill,” with The Enclave and YSU logo at the bottom of the sign.
The crowd erupted in cheers and claps from students and community members alike.
Albert Chizmar, a junior political science major, said he came to the rally because he heard President Tressel was giving a speech and thought it was important to hear what he had to say.
“I honestly had no idea what it was going to be about and now that I realize between the Mercy Health Clinic and the Chipotle opening, I think that’s very cool for the university and for the future of YSU. I’m excited,” he said.
Licata said he thinks Chipotle will be something students and staff will benefit from and enjoy.
“I think having them here really validates how we’ve evolved as a university,” he said.
The Enclave, as well as lending partner Chemical Bank, raffled off free Chipotle for a year to three people who attended the rally.
President Tressel took the stage to thank LRC Realty, Mercy Health and all partners involved as well as YSU students for voting towards an on-campus health clinic in the Spring 2018 semester.