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April 4, 2002

Major renovations okayed for Stephen Foster, Trees, Field House

Trustees have approved $6.6 million in renovations to Trees Hall, Fitzgerald Field House and the Stephen Foster Memorial Theatre.

The trustees' property and facilities committee voted March 25 to include the three projects in Pitt's capital budget.

The proposed $5.1 million, three-year renovation of athletic facilities in Trees Hall and Fitzgerald Field House is expected to be funded by the state.

"Once the University's basketball program moves into the John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center, the vacated areas in the Field House will be renovated as required to relocate athletic activities, except swimming, from Trees Hall," according to a project description distributed to trustees. "Trees Hall will function mostly as a student recreation facility."

Pitt plans to spend $1.5 million (including $400,000 in plant funds and $1.1 million in capital campaign donations) to renovate the Stephen Foster Memorial.

The work is needed to meet enrollment growth in the theatre arts department as well as current theatre and building code standards, Pitt officials said. Renovations will include installation of emergency lighting, a fire alarm and sprinkler system, new or renovated seating, cleaning and painting, new lighting platforms and upgraded ticket and concession areas. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems will be renovated as the budget permits.

"Until this project is completed, the Stephen Foster Memorial auditorium has been closed for health and safety considerations," trustees were told.

The project will be completed incrementally as funding is received. In the meantime, Pitt theatre productions are being staged in the Henry Heymann Theatre, located in the lower level of the Stephen Foster Memorial.

Also at their March 25 meeting, trustees approved:

* A lease allowing Pitt to rent 19,908 square feet of laboratory and office space from UPMC Health System at the Bridgeside Point building on Second Avenue in the Pittsburgh Technology Park.

The School of Medicine and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine will use the space for research.

The lease will run three years at $770,441 a year, with four one-year renewal options.

* Renewal of Pitt's lease for 34,606 square feet of warehouse space in the Lexington Technology Park on North Lexington Street, where the departments of central receiving, surplus property and mailing services are housed.

Pitt has been leasing the space from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh on a month-to-month basis since the last lease expired on Oct. 31. The renewal will run for three years at $124,236 a year, with two one-year renewal options.

— Bruce Steele

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