By SUSAN JONES
Construction on Pitt’s campuses will be in full swing this fall, with some projects winding down and others beginning in earnest.
Work on Oakland’s most anticipated new building — the state-of-the-art campus recreation and wellness center – will begin with a grand opening and celebration on September 29. The center is expected to open in fall 2024.
The celebration will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Benedum Hall, which is across O’Hara Street from the recreation center site. The new multi-story facility will rise up the hillside and connect to the upper campus.
It will include a recreational pool, jogging track, weightlifting equipment, multi-activity courts for basketball, volleyball and other activities, and dining options. The center will take a holistic approach to supporting student health and well-being. It will also be open to faculty and staff.
Other ongoing projects
Hillside allowing projects and chilled water plant: This work includes a new chilled water plant near the Pitt Sports Dome and improvements to electrical, chilled water and sewer infrastructure. The chilled water plant is expected to be completed by December 2023. The project will increase capacity to support new buildings like the new Recreation Center and Victory Heights projects, in addition to building redundancies. It is also part of Facilities Management’s diversity initiatives, with 39% of the project’s construction attributed to minority and women-owned businesses. The final stage of the project, following the completion of the recreation center, will be to improve the trails, outdoor spaces and sustainable hillside landscape.
The Reinvention of the Hillman Library: Phase 3 of this project, which includes renovations of approximately 40,000 square feet on the first and second floors, is scheduled for completion in February 2023. It will also include an expanded Open Lab collaborative space, open study areas, a cafe expanded and a new ADA accessible ramp from Forbes Avenue. Ground, third and fourth floors remain open during renovations; the entrance is only by the ground floor. No date has been set for the start of work on the final phase of the project – the ground floor and the core of the building, which houses the elevators and bathrooms.
Ramps in the hall of elders: In the University’s commitment to strengthening accessibility on campus, Alumni Hall is getting a new ADA accessible ramp at the Lytton Avenue entrance, which will be completed in September. ADA ramps were also previously installed to access the Cathedral of Learning common room.
Spire of the Heinz chapel: The spire of the Heinz Memorial Chapel is being completely reconstructed. Careful attention is paid to preserving the historic design, while ensuring the safety and longevity of the new structure. The spire is expected to be completed in mid-2023. The Heinz Chapel remains open for services and events, including weddings and visitation.
Alan Magee Scaife Room: Due to construction delays, the completion date for the Scaife Hall addition for the School of Medicine has been extended to January 2023. The new addition will provide HVAC, plumbing and electrical to the rest of the building, while providing seven floors of contemporary learning space. Ongoing updates include a renovated Health Sciences Library with an entrance on Lothrop Street, as well as a cafe that will include outdoor seating along Terrace Street. Over the next few months, construction will focus on the completion of the exterior façade, streetscape elements and interior finishing works, in addition to furniture and audio visual equipment installations.
Pitt Greensburg Life Sciences Building: Work on this state-of-the-art facility – including clinical, chemistry and biology labs, simulation suites, telemedicine space, a computer lab and additional offices – began in August 2021 and is expected to be completed in October. It will accommodate the growing science and nursing programs. A new corridor will connect the building to Smith Hall and create a unified life sciences complex.
Pitt Bradford George B. Duke Building Engineering and Information Technology: Also started in August 2021, the Duke Building is expected to be completed in December. It will house two new engineering technology majors – Mechanical Engineering Technology and Power Engineering Technology – as well as other existing engineering and information technology programs. The project includes specialized spaces for engineering and technology studies, including a circuit lab, measurement lab, machine shop, fluid dynamics lab, virtual reality lab and classrooms. ‘study. The building was also built to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) standards and a solar panel on the roof is expected to produce 113,000 kWh per year.
Fifth site and Halket: The property at Fifth and Halket has been approved for core and shell construction. This includes the basic interior (core) and exterior structure (shell), without additional interior elements such as light fixtures, walls, ceilings, and furniture. Construction on the site has begun and the University is working with designers and contractors on plans for construction equipment. The core and shell are expected to be completed in December 2024. The interior design of the 10-story building is to be designed to meet the needs of the university programs that will eventually inhabit it.
Place outside the cathedral: The Cathedral of Learning received improvements to the waterproofing of the foundation. The project has just ended. The Bigelow Street entrance looks no different, but the completed work will ensure the cathedral’s longevity, according to facilities management.
Pitt Science Center – Titusville Broadhurst: The newly renovated Broadhurst Science Center at the Pitt-Titusville Education and Training Center officially opened on August 11. It also kicked off the public portion of the fundraising campaign aimed at raising $3 million, of which they already had pledges for $1.8 million. Bill Strickland – founder of Manchester Bidwell Corp., one of the Titusville Hub partners – said he remembered coming to see the building when it was empty and “people were walking around with their heads down. And I said, we have to bring hope to this place to turn on the lights and make a difference in the lives of people who come here and that’s what’s happening.
The new building will house classrooms and labs for all Titusville partners, including the Manufacturing Assistance Center and Northern Pennsylvania Regional College. The Brockway Center for Arts & Technology in Titusville will also offer a Physician Assistant program at no cost. “It’s going to give an example of how a big university, a rural program could work together, so we can take this model to all the big universities and it becomes a prototype,” Strickland said during the ribbon cutting.
Ground floor of William Pitt Union: A new, expanded dining area was developed in Union William Pitt over the summer to accommodate the larger group dining needs of Pitt students, faculty and staff. The work is complete, and this area is now open.
Arena and Sports Performance Complex: The Board’s Property and Facilities Committee approved the excavation of the site for the new arena and sports performance complex, part of the Victory Heights initiative, located adjacent to the Petersen Events Center. Work is expected to begin this fall. Work currently underway in this area is in support of the new chilled water plant.
Quality Inn website: Pitt has proposed using the former Quality Inn site at 3401 Allied Boulevard for new non-student housing and a grocery store and is in the process of planning the project. While development plans for the project progress, the on-site Panera Bread remains open. Developer Walnut Capitol said this will be the first priority for the Oakland Crossings project.
The largest construction project in Oakland is not on the Pitt campus, but it will certainly impact the university community. Work began in the spring on the expansion of UPMC’s Presbyterian Hospital and is expected to last four years. The new tower on the former Children’s Hospital site will be a 17-story, 287-foot glass structure. It will house 636 patient beds and will have a car park with 450 spaces.
The main impact right now is traffic diversions. Parking has been eliminated on DeSoto Street and there is only one lane of traffic, uphill. On Fifth Avenue, one lane of traffic and the sidewalk are closed from DeSoto and end before the Atwood bus shelter.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Join her at [email protected] or 724-244-4042.
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