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August 30, 2012

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, redirected traffic, 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 school officials to provide a brief look at “What’s New? People, Places and Things” in their areas. The summaries that follow are not all-encompassing, but rather 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.

The Salk Hall renovation/addition project.

The Salk Hall renovation/addition project.

The Office of Facilities Management has been overseeing several projects. Among them:

• A 3,500-square-foot renovation of the Chevron Science Center has modernized instructional chemistry space to accommodate both organic chemistry and general chemistry. The renovation includes replacement of an inefficient laboratory ventilation system with a heating ventilating and air conditioning system tailored to the research needs of the classroom. Similar to renovations on other floors in Chevron, previously wasted circulation areas have been reclaimed to expand the teaching areas. Energy/water conserving upgrades and American with Disabilities Act improvements were included.

• The third and seventh floors of Benedum Hall have been renovated as part of a multi-year project that is expected to be completed by March.

The third floor hosts the Department of Bioengineering, several smart classrooms, a distance-learning classroom and the new music engineering laboratory.

A 19,000-square-foot area of the seventh floor been renovated for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This floor consists of wet labs, undergraduate instructional and computer labs and offices.

Benedum Hall was among the winners of the 2011 Master Builders’ Association Building Excellence Awards, presented earlier this year. It captured the Renovation Construction Over $10 Million category. The project contractor was Volpatt Construction; project architect was Edge Studios.

The building’s renovation and expansion, including the construction of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, was one of the 2011 recipients of the Design Pittsburgh Award, presented by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Pittsburgh.

The sub-basement is being renovated to house mechanical engineering and materials science labs.

• A large retaining wall was completed recently on the site of the Salk Hall renovation and addition project. The 81,000-square-foot, six-story addition is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The School of Dental Medicine’s Center for Craniofacial Regeneration and the School of Pharmacy’s Center for Pharmacogenetics and Center for Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences will benefit from the additional research and administrative space, the open “ballroom” laboratory plan and contiguous linear equipment corridor, as well as conference rooms, faculty offices and ancillary support space.


A $4.6 million project to add 9,000 square feet of space to the existing dining facility in the J. Curtis McKinney II Student Union on the Pitt-Titusville campus is approximately 80 percent complete.

The expansion at the student union will replace the facilities at Ball Hall. This project will provide much needed multiple-use space to accommodate a variety of campus events and activities.

The expected opening date is Jan. 4.


Krebs Hall, one of Pitt-Johnstown’s original academic buildings, underwent a $2 million renovation this summer, its first major renovation since its construction 45 years ago.

As part of the project, 42 offices were constructed or reconfigured in order to cluster offices and classrooms by department and 11 classrooms were reconstructed or converted into technology-ready classrooms featuring the latest in instructional technology.

UPJ’s campus police moved into new quarters constructed over the summer. The new 1,100-square-foot location provides office space for the unit sergeants, a dispatch station, interview room and improved technology resources.


Brackenridge Hall has become the third honors residence hall. It will accommodate 210 undergraduate students, mostly sophomores and juniors.


Renovation of the upper floor in the Health Sciences Library System’s Falk Library is underway, with completion scheduled for early October.

The library will be painted and recarpeted, with new spaces for group study and collaboration.

The project will result in four group study rooms, a computer classroom, a relocated technology help desk and space for the staff of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region.


The English Language Institute will begin the new year in a newly renovated facility in the Parkvale Building at the corner of Forbes and Meyran avenues. The new space expands ELI’s instructional footprint with additional classrooms, including a dedicated lab for delivery of a custom-built curriculum of computer-based instruction, as well as amenities including a student lounge and kitchen.


Pitt-Bradford’s Kessel Athletic Complex has undergone a $2.7 million renovation to replace the softball field. The work includes new fencing, scoreboard, dugouts, press box, concessions, restrooms, stadium lighting and a paved parking lot for the softball and baseball fields. In addition, a locker room facility was built.

UPB’s Hanley Library has added an area to house the campus’s Academic Advising Center, Writing Center and Academic Success Center.

The renovated softball field on the Bradford campus.

The renovated softball field on the Bradford campus.

A new biosafety facility has been completed in the Department of Biological Sciences to allow researchers to study infectious agents such as tuberculosis and dengue virus.

Also, a state-of-the-art butterfly habitat was completed in Crawford Hall for the research of Nate Morehouse. This USDA-approved facility is the first of its kind on campus for the breeding and study of exotic butterflies.


Lecture halls in 123 and 129 Victoria Building received major renovations through funding from the University classroom committee. Seating in both rooms was increased by at least 20 percent, enabling increased capacity for the growing nursing school class demands.

Lecture hall room 125 also is being updated.

Pitt-Greensburg will dedicate its sustainable office and classroom building, Frank A. Cassell Hall, at 11 a.m. Sept. 5.

Named in honor of the third president of the UPG campus, the two-story, 16,500-square-foot building is designed to realize 30 percent annual energy savings and reduce water usage by 50 percent. A silver LEED designation for this building is anticipated and would be the first such LEED certification on campus.

UPG’s Computing Services and Telecommunications, Media and Instructional Technology Services and education department will be the main tenants in Cassell Hall.

The building will house a computer lab for 80 students; a student lounge; computer and distance learning classrooms; faculty and staff offices; space for computer support and media and instructional technological services, and academic training rooms.

Also at UPG, a digital media lab has been established at Millstein Library for use by students, faculty and staff.

Funded by an R.K. Mellon grant and the Carl Poke Endowment, the multimedia lab contains Dell Optiplex 900 computers with Adobe Creative Master Suite CS6; an HP color laserjet printer; a 42-inch HP DesignJet printer; an HP ScanJet G4; Sony and Canon video and digital cameras; a  Korg M5061 keyboard with Mixcraft5; tripods, audio and lighting equipment and headphones. Equipment may be borrowed for three days. For more information, go to

2012 freshman convocation at The Pete.

2012 freshman convocation at The Pete.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 45 Issue 1

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