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October 26, 2000

Funding for several major campus projects moves closer to approval

Major funding for several capital campus improvement projects moved a step closer to approval this week.

The Board of Trustees property and facilities committee Oct. 24 okayed seven separate projects on or near the Pittsburgh campus.

The committee must approve all University construction projects in excess of $1 million. Upon approval, the committee informs the board's budget committee of its actions for the purpose of including the approved amounts in Pitt's capital budget.

The full board, which meets today, Oct. 26, is expected to approve the committee's recommendations.

Projects approved by the property and facilities committee are:

* Fire alarm upgrades and sprinkler system installation in Lothrop Hall ($2.4 million, to be paid from University auxiliary reserve funds);

* Renovation of the University-owned warehouse on Thomas Boulevard in Point Breeze ($12.5 million projected costs, to be paid over three years from the Education and General budget, and annual operating costs of $1.6 million, to be paid over five years through the E&G budget). The warehouse will serve as swing space for book storage during renovation of Hillman Library, which is not yet scheduled.

* Final phase of the DeSoto Street steam-line renovation ($4.7 million, to be paid from capital reserves);

* Renovations of the first floor of Mervis Hall ($2.4 million to be paid through gifts to the Katz Graduate School of Business);

* New chiller installation in Posvar Hall ($2.4 million, from the fiscal year 2001 capital budget, with $600,000 in annual operating costs from the E&G budget), and

* Renovation in the north wing of the 10th floor of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic ($1.8 million, to come from the fiscal year 2001 commonwealth appropriation).

The committee also approved an energy conservation construction/renovation project affecting more than 30 Pittsburgh campus locations (projected total cost $6 million, to be paid out of fiscal year 2001's capital budget and with off-setting utility cost savings over the next few years).

The energy saving improvements are grouped into three categories: electrical and lighting projects, including installation of motion sensors to control hallway lighting; energy management systems upgrades, including conversions and controls for HVAC systems, and mechanical modifications, including pipe insulation and improved heat recovery systems.

The property and facilities committee further is authorized to approve purchases, sales, mortgages, leases or acquisitions of real estate in excess of $500,000. The committee approved two such projects:

* The purchase of the Gold Building, 3343 Forbes Ave., for additional lab space for the Center for Environmental Health and Toxicology Research, part of the Graduate School of Public Health. The cost is $2.5 million and will be funded by the University property acquisitions account.

* The lease agreement between Pitt and Shadyside Medical Center Associates. The 10-year lease calls for a total rental cost of $3.7 million, plus $3.05 million for improvements and lab conversion. The lease agreement carries a five-year renewal option. The 14,000+ square foot space will house research labs for the Health Sciences Department of Urology. Scientists currently housed in the Biomedical Science Tower will re-locate to space in the Shadyside Medical Center's ground floor, directly below the Department of Urology's clinical facility.

Funding is expected to come from grant money already approved by the National Institutes of Health and grant money currently being sought by the Department of Urology.

q In other Board of Trustees developments: The full board is expected today to approve the nominating committee's recommendations to add five candidates to board membership.

Nominated are: — Steven C. Beering, who recently retired as president of Purdue University. Beering earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Pitt and is the recipient of the University's Bicentennial Medallion of Distinction, the Distinguished Alumni Fellows Award and the Hench Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Medical Alumni Association.

— Herbert W. Boyer, who earned a Ph.D. in 1963 from Pitt, is co-founder of Genentech, Inc. Boyer has won the Medal of Technology, the National Medal of Science, and the Albert and Mary Lasker Award for Medical Research. Among his many honors and activities, Boyer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and is in the California Inventors Hall of Fame.

— William R. Johnson, chairman, president and CEO of H.J. Heinz Company. Johnson previously served as a University-appointed director of the UPMC Health System and a member of its executive committee.

— George L. Miles Jr., president and CEO of WQED Pittsburgh, serves on the boards of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center, the Urban League of Pittsburgh, the Civic Light Opera, and the Pittsburgh Public Theater. He is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Board of Advisors and a community director of the UPMC Health System.

— The Hon. Dick Thorn-burgh, former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. attorney general. Thornburgh served as United Nations Undersecretary-General for Administration and Management and as director of the Institute for Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He currently is of counsel to the law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP.

Thornburgh holds a law degree from Pitt.

"We are honored that such distinguished individuals have agreed to join the University's Board of Trustees," Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said. "The talents, experience and expertise which they bring will prove invaluable to the University in the months and years ahead, and their willingness to join us is further testimony to the success of our efforts to reach even higher levels of excellence in all that we do."

The Board of Trustees also is expected to accept audited financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, as recommended by the board's audit committee. The board is expected to approve a revised mission statement for the audit committee.

Three trustees are expected to be named emeritus trustees: Paul E. Lego, Malcolm M. Prine and Farrell Rubenstein.

–Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 33 Issue 5

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