What’s New at Pitt: Places
The hustle and bustle that marks the beginning of the academic year has returned: The proliferation of laundry carts and upperclass student volunteers pointing the way to newcomers and their families during Arrival Survival.
But for many at Pitt, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: Facilities were renovated; faculty and staff came and went; academic programs were established.
The University Times asked deans and other unit heads “What’s New at Pitt?” The summaries that follow are overviews of school news based on material submitted by the units. Information previously published in the University Times was not included here.
The listings were coordinated by Kimberly K. Barlow and Marty Levine.
Fundraising is continuing for the Korean Heritage Room, which will be the University’s 30th Nationality Room.
Modeled after the lecture hall in Seoul’s 14th-century Korean Royal Academy, the room will be created in Korea, disassembled and shipped to Pittsburgh in containers, then reassembled.
The School of Nursing’s skills lab has undergone two major upgrades to better support the school’s graduate program curriculum. Six private exam rooms, mirroring a doctor’s office examination room to afford privacy for the simulated patient, have been added so that students can practice assessment skills on other students or models.
A second simulation area was designed to give students hands-on experiences in a hospital or examination room setting. It is equipped with an observation window and cameras and can be configured to simulate a hospital room, operating room or delivery room.
A 1,500-square-foot Orthopaedic Robotics Laboratory has opened in the Center for Bioengineering, focused on the prevention of degenerative joint disease by improving diagnostic, repair and rehabilitation procedures for musculoskeletal injuries using state-of-the-art robotic technology.
The lab will serve as a multi-disciplinary core facility with collaboration promoted among investigators, and will be co-directed by Volker Musahl and Richard E. Debski, both faculty in orthopaedic surgery and bioengineering.
A state-of-the-art learning center in Salk Hall has been built on the site of the classroom in room 402, which was destroyed by fire last year. The Novo Nordisk Learning Center offers small-group learning in a large-group setting.
The classroom’s standard capacity is 114 students with 19 tables equipped with flat screens.
The classroom has been designed to accommodate better interaction between the instructor and the students. The room’s acoustics were designed for teaching in the round, with the instructor located in the center of the room.
A Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) Help Desk has been established in the Towers lobby.
The Quad Fitness Center has moved to Brackenridge Hall.
The Oakland Bakery and Market now occupies the fitness center’s former Amos Hall space. With entrances on Fifth Avenue and Schenley Quad, the bakery is open to students and the public and offers fresh bakery items as well as specialty healthful food choices.
The provost’s classroom management team in the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education updated several classrooms and lecture halls on campus, placing special emphasis on the learning environments for large-enrollment courses. The rooms feature collaborative seating for team-based learning activities, power ports to charge mobile devices, high-resolution displays and enhanced acoustic treatment.
Updated this year were 104-107 David Lawrence Hall, 125 Victoria Hall and 125 Frick Fine Arts Building.
Upgrades to the Lawrence Hall rooms include new white boards, improved acoustics, AV components, instructor’s console, seating and energy-efficient lighting.
The renovations in classrooms 104 and 107 incorporate a spacious environment affording faculty the ability to circulate throughout the room, promoting better interaction with the students. Each room can accommodate 85-90 students.
Classrooms 105 and 106 have been redesigned to provide large-scale collaborative learning space. The seats can turn 360 degrees, allowing students to interact with those in front of them as well as those behind them. Each room seats 64 students.
Pitt-Greensburg made substantial repairs to its Lynch Hall Gatehouse this summer. The gatehouse, part of the Lynch estate that was built in the 1920s, will be used for storage.
A new bridge was installed over the western section of Slate Creek. Designed to handle heavy emergency vehicles, the bridge enhances UPG’s emergency-response planning. A pedestrian bridge also has been installed in the same area.
CSSD and the University Store on Fifth have partnered to provide tech support in a convenient central location in the new store. CSSD consultants will be on hand to provide technical advice and help to people who drop by with quick questions such as how to configure email on a new mobile device, change passwords or resolve a software issue.
Discounted software for faculty, staff and students is available as well.
Construction of the 26,000-square-foot nursing and health sciences building is nearing completion at Pitt-Johnstown. A ribbon cutting is planned for Sept. 27, during homecoming weekend.
The $12 million facility will include 11 laboratories for chemistry and biology, a nursing simulation laboratory, six faculty offices and two seminar/classrooms spread over two floors.
Also at UPJ:
• Several areas of the student union were renovated to provide additional administrative space for Student Affairs and expanded facilities for accommodated testing. With continued growth in the RealWorld Action program, dedicated space was created to better meet students’ needs.
• The information technology administrative offices were relocated to the Owen Library in space adjacent to the technical services operation. This move improves efficiency by centrally locating key IT operations.
• A welcome center was incorporated into the redesigned admissions office. An expanded reception area includes additional seating focused around a fireplace.
The ground floor of the William Pitt Union has been renovated, as has the WPU Assembly Room and main-floor restrooms.
The Assembly Room renovation restores the 6,200-square-foot space to its original ambiance. Ceilings, flooring and the projection/audio booth were replaced and windows uncovered to allow natural light into the room. Chairs, furnishings and wall and window treatments also were replaced.
The stage has been rebuilt with the addition of theatrical lighting, digital sound and high-definition digital projectors. A lighting control system for house and stage lighting facilitates multiple lighting scenarios for theatre, assembly and special events.
The lower-level food service areas have been renovated to be similar to Nordy’s Place in style and amenities. Food choices include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Nicola’s Garden, the Grille and Sub Connection, with all new furniture and finishes. Games, pool tables and new lounge seating areas are located throughout the space, which is open to students around the clock.
A cross-departmental student community has emerged as a result of the creation of a Dissertation Writing Room in Hillman Library for social science and humanities dissertation students. Details on the space are at www.library.pitt.edu/get-phd-carrel.
The University Library System has completed several renovation projects at Hillman Library:
• The plaza surrounding the library’s first floor has been renovated, with a refurbished deck, landscaping and upgraded seating.
• A research and learning area has been created on the ground floor. The R & L area is equipped with computers, seating and overhead screen projection to support ULS’s information literacy program.
• This fall the library will open six new technology group study rooms equipped with computer software and hardware that enables students to collaborate on projects and display their work.
• Student seating areas for individual and collaborative study have been added throughout the library.
Phase 1 of the Parran and Crabtree Halls addition and renovation project includes a 57,000-gross-square-foot, five-story addition to Parran Hall to accommodate expansion of research facilities for the Graduate School of Public Health.
New laboratory and lab support space will be added, with the addition tying into the existing Parran Hall on floors 2, 3 and 4 to link existing office space to the new labs.
This phase of the project also will renovate 13,000 gross square feet of space including the Parran Hall lobby, restrooms, student commons area and ground floor building support spaces.
The auditorium is scheduled for completion in early September with the remainder of the project to be completed by late 2013.
The University is pursuing LEED certification for the addition.
Market Central at Litchfield Towers has undergone significant updates to its food services, including the addition of a Towers Treats ice cream and dessert venue.
The Quick Zone Market at Litchfield Towers has been renovated and expanded. Now nearly doubled in size, it now offers additional hot and cold food items and sundries.
Renovations on the 8th floor of the Information Sciences Building include the creation of a computer lab with administrative offices and server room as well as a collaboration room and a teleconference room. Ventilation and air conditioning systems have been upgraded, along with ADA-compliant restrooms.
The information sciences school has opened a Student Collaboration Center on the third floor. The center provides spaces for studying in groups or alone, working on team projects and collaborating with research or classroom colleagues across the world.
The center incorporates a number of enclosed meeting spaces with conferencing and collaboration technology, spaces for small-group teaching and seminars, and places where students can practice conference or classroom presentations.
Benedum Hall’s 8th floor is the most recent area completed in the building’s ongoing renovation. It is the new energy innovation floor, home to the Center for Energy and the new Eaton Power Lab, as well as additional interdisciplinary lab space.
Students at Pitt-Bradford will have the benefit of a new Mathematics Center this fall. Students will be able to visit the Mathematics Center for one-on-one or group tutoring.
The center is co-directed by Andrea Robbins, a faculty member in the chemistry and mathematics departments, and Mark Morrison, who taught mathematics at Bradford Area High School.
The College of General Studies and its associated units — the McCarl Center, the Office of Veterans Services and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute — will relocate to the first floor of Posvar Hall in May.
The move will provide students improved access to CGS staff and support services, essential amenities such as parking, libraries and lounges, and designated spaces for tutoring and quiet study.
The Department of History of Art and Architecture’s architectural studies program will move its design courses from Posvar Hall to a renovated studio space in Thaw Hall.
The studio will accommodate 48 desks and will permit the expansion of course offerings in architectural design.
Renovations and updates to chemistry facilities continue.
The latest update to the department’s research resources is the Chemistry Instrumentation Center, located on the fourth floor of the Chevron Science Center at the entrance to the tunnel to Eberly Hall, in space that formerly was occupied by the machine shop. In this centrally located space, nuclear magnetic resonance mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography instrumentation has been consolidated.
Preliminary design is underway for the modernization of undergraduate laboratories on the first floor of Chevron and for renovation of the 13th floor research laboratory space, both targeted for completion within the next few years.
Pitt’s Forbes Avenue Copy Cat copy center has moved to the University Store on Fifth. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Copy Cat also is in 246 Scaife Hall. Business hours are 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The Pitt-Titusville Learning Center in Haskell Memorial Library has doubled in size. The renovation project and 1,100-square-foot expansion will accommodate the increased number of students who utilize the facility and is expected to be more conducive to student learning, with separate areas for writing, math and science.
UPT has created a game room in the J. Curtis McKinney Student Union. The room will include a foosball table, pool table and a Wii game system. Other renovations to the student union included carpeting and painting throughout the second floor and new vinyl flooring on the first floor.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy begins the fall term in a renovated building that features state-of-the-art laboratory space for nanoscience and experimental physics research.
The project began in spring 2010 and encompassed three buildings. The renovations included 75,000 square feet in new laboratories and offices in Allen Hall, Nuclear Physics Laboratory and Old Engineering Hall, as well as an interdisciplinary machine shop.
A two-year mechanical systems modernization project to improve ventilation and heating controls on the 5th and 6th floors of the Cathedral of Learning was completed over the summer. The spaces also received aesthetic and lighting upgrades.
The Department of Anthropology starts the fall term with renovated archeology labs. The 30-year-old spaces on the 2nd floor of Posvar Hall have been upgraded with the necessary infrastructure to support modern research and instruction, including a new fume hood and deionized water system.
Two research labs were constructed on the 3rd floor of Sennott Square, in support of innovative research programs in the Department of Psychology. These include an exercise facility where faculty will study the effect of activity levels on cognitive decline in the elderly.
The Health Sciences Library System has completed renovation on Falk Library’s mezzanine floor that has added four group study rooms, a remodeled and relocated computer classroom, a new technology help desk and office space for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s Middle Atlantic region staff. The space also was recarpeted and repainted.
One of the new group study rooms is equipped with the technology to help users practice class or other public presentations. The new media console allows users to videotape themselves giving a presentation as well as recording their onscreen presentation from a laptop. Saving the video files to a flash drive allows users to take their video presentations with them for review.
The library also purchased rolling whiteboards for the remodeled space that can be used anywhere in the library.
The School of Education’s Urban Center on the fourth floor of Posvar Hall is being constructed.
The school established the center in 2002 with a mission of researching and disseminating evidence-based methods for improving urban education in Pittsburgh and across the country. The center’s three main areas of focus are research and practice, regional service and institutional advancement.
The School of Education’s Department of Health and Physical Activity held a ribbon cutting in June for its Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center in Oak Hill Court. The center provides resources to students, faculty, staff and the community and is researching ways to fight obesity and factors that can help with weight management.
Groundbreaking took place in early August for a $1 million laboratory at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology in Linesville.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the 3,600-square-foot lab is expected to draw researchers in molecular and microbial biology from around the world to work during spring and summer. When researchers are not in residence, the lab will serve as a base for science outreach to teachers and students throughout northwest Pennsylvania.
The lab’s new capabilities will allow scientists to work on a much wider diversity of research questions, including genetics and wildlife diseases.
The project is expected to be completed in April 2014.