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September 2, 2010

What’s New: Places

Construction on the addition to the Chevron Science Center is well underway.

Construction on the addition to the Chevron Science Center is well underway.

Construction will start in the fall to facilitate the consolidation of all the Undergraduate Studies units in the School of Arts and Sciences under one roof in Thackeray Hall.

The Office of Experiential Learning and the Office of Freshman Programs will move from Thaw Hall to Thackeray’s second and third floors, respectively. The College in High School program will move from the first to the second floor of Thackeray to make room for the renovation and expansion of the Office of Student Records. This expansion will allow Student Records to be more student friendly with a new reception area and more computer terminals. In addition, the Writing Center and the Math Assistance Center will move to the Concordia Club.

A new microscopy suite for the departments of biological sciences and neuroscience has been completed. The facility includes new microscopes.

The Department of Computer Science has renovated the Macintosh lab in 6110 Sennott Square, adding desks and computers to accommodate increased registration in courses.

The department also has equipped 52 machines in the student lab in 5502 Sennott with NVidia GeForce 8800GT graphic cards. These cards were selected for the 3D performance for gaming and the central processing unit computing with Compute Unified Device Architecture.

The English department is undertaking some extensive renovations. The largest project is a reconstruction of its main meeting space on the 5th floor of the Cathedral of Learning. Plans for the renovation include eliminating several walls to create a spacious hall for talks, meetings and audiovisual presentations. The area will be known as the English Department Commons Room.

Four new offices also will be created, and the copy room will be relocated. Also planned is the creation of a lactation room on the 6th floor.

In addition, departmental courses in composition, journalism and new media will benefit from the use of a new digital media/computer classroom in G26 CL, equipped with new computers prepared for a full range of media production: animation, video and sound editing, web and multi-modal design and composition, layout, graphics and desktop and e-publishing.

Pitt-Bradford will have two new buildings and one like-new building this fall.

A new 103-bed residence hall, the third built in five years, has opened, bringing UPB’s on-campus housing capacity to nearly 1,000 students. The residence hall is named in honor of Sarah B. Dorn, daughter of Zippo lighter inventor George G. Blaisdell and benefactor of the campus. A dedication ceremony is set for Sept. 10.

On Sept. 30, the new Harriett B. Wick Chapel will be dedicated as part of UPB’s alumni weekend activities. Wick and Dorn are sisters who have supported Pitt-Bradford for many years.

The chapel will seat about 150 people and provide a site for religious services, interfaith and ecumenical services, memorial services, receptions and small choral and musical performances. It also will be home to a new staff member who will coordinate chapel events and student community service.

A $5.9 million renovation of Fisher Hall, UPB’s science building, has brought new heating and ventilation systems, fume hoods and lab benches to redesigned labs. Restrooms were upgraded and a new emergency generator with uninterrupted power supply was added for computing, telecommunications and media services.

School of Education community fitness courses that were displaced from the Bellefield Hall aerobic room over the summer return to Bellefield Hall this fall. Classes were moved to the Petersen Events Center after the ceiling in the Bellefield Hall aerobic room was damaged by weightlifting activities on the floor above.

The second phase of Benedum Hall renovations is scheduled to begin in January, with all three phases expected to be completed by 2015. The project will renovate eight floors of Benedum Hall,  bringing new research, classroom and office spaces for the Swanson School of Engineering on the 3rd floor and floors 6-12. Swing space will be employed to accommodate departmental needs during construction.

Photos of renovations completed in the initial phase of the project, including a time-lapse video of the construction of the 42,000-square-foot Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation addition, are available at

The Office of Facilities Management is overseeing a number of capital projects. Among them:

Turf installation is set to begin this month at the Petersen Sports Complex.

• Construction of an addition to the Chevron Science Center is in progress.

In addition, Chevron’s 5th-floor renovation project includes general laboratory renovations encompassing approximately 8,300 square feet to house wet laboratories for chemistry research. The work will replace obsolete, inefficient mechanical systems and laboratory controls.

The design reclaims previously underutilized circulation areas for use as student research areas. Energy and water conserving upgrades and ADA improvements are included.

The project also will complete renovation work on the 4th floor to outfit a 600-square-foot lab for the chemistry department. This work includes the installation of fume hoods and related mechanical and plumbing distribution systems.

The Chevron project is expected to be completed next spring.

• The Lothrop Hall 1st floor has been renovated to provide a study lounge with wireless Internet access and additional undergraduate student housing rooms. This area formerly was leased to UPMC as office space. The 1st floor will accommodate 47 new undergraduate student beds. The project includes the addition of showers in the bathrooms, new finishes and fixtures and improved security.

• The William Pitt Union’s 9th floor project saw approximately 9,000 square feet renovated for use by Student Affairs, WPU staff and student organizations. New areas include a study area/lounge and offices for Residence Life and Pitt Arts.

• Phase I of Parran/Crabtree renovations and addition, currently in design, will construct an addition to Parran Hall to provide approximately 61,000 gross square feet of new space including wet labs and a 216-seat auditorium on the east side of the building. The expected construction timeframe is spring 2011-spring 2013.

The Concordia Club renovation project consists of interior and exterior upgrades to 30,000 square feet of space in the recently purchased club on O’Hara Street. Built in 1913, the  building includes three stories plus a basement.

A 2,500-square-foot addition will be constructed to house a new elevator and an exit stair. Exterior upgrades will include accessible entrances, roof replacement, landscaping and parking improvements. Mechanical and electrical systems will be upgraded to connect to the University’s infrastructure systems and to meet code requirements.

Some of the building will be dedicated to Student Affairs, and will be used for student organization offices and for larger gatherings, performance events, speaking engagements and dining. Improvements will include new security systems, wireless data service, food service staging areas, audiovisual systems, additional restroom facilities and updated finishes.

Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2011.

• The Eberly Hall 2nd- and 3rd-floor nanoscience laboratory project will renovate approximately 5,300 gross square feet of former library space on the second floor to house new synthetic and spectroscopy laboratory suites for physical chemistry research in nanomaterials. The work will include complete replacement of room finishes, lighting, ventilation and air conditioning, new laboratory controls, modern flexible laboratory casework, energy efficient fume hoods and laser equipment.

The project also includes renovations to the Chemistry Electronics Shop on the third floor of Eberly Hall. Approximately 1,500 gross square feet will accommodate the consolidation of the Chemistry Electronics Shop with the Physics Electronics Shop. This project includes the installation of new work stations, soldering benches, a state-of-the-art fabrication laboratory, lighting and related upgraded mechanical and electrical distribution systems.

Work is expected to be completed in winter 2011.

• The Bouquet Gardens expansion project consists of construction of a 155-bed apartment-style undergraduate student housing building to be located between Oakland Avenue and Bouquet Street. The building will be four stories plus basement with a total area of approximately 64,800 gross square feet.

This project will add 48 units of three- and four-person apartments to the current Bouquet Gardens housing complex. The project is expected to be completed in time for occupancy for fall term 2011.

(See related story in this issue.)

In a project managed by the School of Information Sciences and the Center for Russian and East European Studies and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the University of Pristina in Kosovo celebrated the completion of a new telecommunications laboratory in June. The design of the lab is based on SIS’s Telecommunications Networking Laboratory.

In addition to the state-of-the-art teaching lab, the project incorporated the development of a graduate-degree program in telecommunications. This two-year degree program was introduced in 2009 with an inaugural class of 19 students.

Construction has begun in the Barco Law Building, renovating approximately 10,000 square feet of the ground floor to create a new student lounge. The renovated space, which is scheduled for completion next spring, will contain a Starbucks coffee kiosk; increased seating with comfortable couches and chairs to promote student gathering; soft lighting and increased electrical access for laptop use; full-size clothing wardrobes, and a new unisex restroom.

In addition to the lounge, the lower-level locker area of approximately 500 square feet will be upgraded to create a suite of offices for School of Law student organizations. A student eating and vending area also will be provided. All renovated areas will include upgraded finishes, lighting, signage, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and wireless access.

At Pitt-Johnstown, several projects were completed during the summer:

• A portion of Blackington Hall has been renovated to accommodate Pitt-Johnstown’s new nursing program. In addition to faculty office space, a simulation lab has been created.

Classrooms throughout the Engineering and Science Building have been renovated with upgrades in instructional technology, as well as new flooring, lighting and furniture.

• All campus classrooms are being refurnished as part of UPJ’s largest classroom enhancement project. Traditional side-arm desks are being replaced with tables and chairs. In addition to accommodating the increasing number of students who are utilizing laptops in the classroom, the new furniture provides students with more desktop space and more comfortable seating.

• The UPJ Student Union has undergone an extensive renovation. In addition to major upgrades in the main dining hall, including the addition of Magellan’s, a Mongolian-style grill, the entire Tuck Shop area has been renovated and includes expanded dining options. In addition to the existing Subway and Pizza Hut, the Tuck Shop also will feature Mexican cuisine at Salsa Rio, as well as a Simply to Go option. The fall term also will mark the grand opening of Brioche Doree, a European-style café located in the expanded food court area of the Student Union.

• A new outdoor park known as University Square has been constructed. The area features a gazebo, lighting and seating. University Square will make its official debut during this year’s homecoming celebration.

• The Varsity Café, located in the Living/Learning Center, has undergone a facelift and is the new home of Jazzman’s Café. Relocating Jazzman’s will enhance access for residents of the Living/Learning Center as well as for conference center guests.

• The new Wellness Center has surpassed the halfway point for completion and is scheduled to open by early November.

• Plans are underway to construct a health sciences and nursing building, a $10 million, 20,000-square-foot building that will feature classrooms, laboratories and offices. The project recently received $4 million from the commonwealth’s Put Pennsylvania to Work initiative.

The School of Medicine is leasing four of the five floors — about 128,000 square feet in all — at Bridgeside Point II for research efforts in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the departments of orthopaedic surgery, psychiatry and microbiology and molecular genetics.

A $46.5 million research center has been constructed in the Pittsburgh Technology Center on Technology Drive. Nearly 400 employees will work in the facility and recruitment of new faculty members to populate the laboratory space is underway. Research programs housed there will include translational and basic neuroscience laboratories, a stem cell research center, a hand research laboratory and a center for cellular and molecular engineering.

University Ear Nose & Throat Specialists, the clinical practice of the Department of Otolaryngology, has opened an office in Monroeville.

The renovation of two classrooms in Salk Hall was completed in time for the start of the fall term. Groundbreaking for Salk Pavilion, the first new building constructed in the history of the School of Pharmacy, which will house research facilities for the school and the School of Dental Medicine, is planned for later this fall. (See July 22 University Times.) A commons area will connect Salk Hall to the Salk Pavilion.

Plans are underway to improve the efficiency of dining services for Pitt-Titusville students, faculty and staff by construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition to the dining facility in the J. Curtis McKinney II Student Union.

This project also will provide space to accommodate a variety of campus events and activities.

Plans are to be developed and submitted this fall, with work expected to begin in spring. Completion is slated for January 2012.

The expansion at the student union would replace the current facilities at Ball Hall, which are to be converted into campus building management offices.

The project comes on the heels of an extensive refurbishment and renovation of Spruce Residence Hall, which was completed over the summer.

—Peter Hart & Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 43 Issue 1

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