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June 13, 2002

Building, renovation projects okayed

Pitt trustees have approved more than $30 million worth of building and renovation projects at the Pittsburgh, Bradford and Johnstown campuses, along with three lease arrangements.

The trustees' property and facilities committee — which is authorized to approve building projects of more than $1 million and oversee property transactions in excess of $500,000 — gave its okay on June 3 to:

* Step I of an addition to the Clapp/Langley/Crawford complex, which is expected to cost $20 million. It will add 50,000 square feet of space for research laboratories for the biological sciences, as well as neuroscience research programs and support areas.

The state is expected to fund the $20 million cost, although University funding will be needed for moving and other expenses. The amount of this additional funding will be determined at a later date, and will be subject to trustees' approval.

"The design of the exterior of the building will complement the existing buildings," the description stated. It continued: "Once the new addition is built, some of the existing support facilities and research programs in Crawford Hall will be moved into the new space. This will allow for the renovation of the systems in the vacated areas, followed by the renovation of the other two buildings.

* Phase II of construction of Blaisdell Hall on the Bradford campus. Pitt's total cost for the project will be $8.5 million, to come from the University's state appropriation. The project is scheduled to be completed during the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2004.

The building will house a 500-seat theater, proscenium arch and stage, an art gallery, dressing rooms, scene shop and offices, plus a technology center and distance learning facilities. It also will enable the Bradford campus to offer various music, studio art and art appreciation courses, according to a statement distributed to trustees. "It is estimated that student enrollment at the Bradford campus could increase by 5 percent to 10 percent if more courses in these areas could be provided," the statement read.

* The second phase of renovations to Eberly Hall, to accommodate new faculty in Pitt's Center for Molecular Materials Simulations as well as relocated support services from Chevron Science Center. Phase II of the $1.5 million project (to be financed by Pitt educational and general debt) will renovate areas of Eberly vacated by the computer science department, which has moved to Sennott Square (formerly known as the Multi-Purpose Academic Complex).

* A $1.3 million renovation of the Johnstown campus's Maple Hall, to be funded by campus auxiliary debt. The 101-bed, two-story residence hall was built in 1967.

Trustees also approved leasing an additional 5,716 square feet of space at 2 Market Plaza Way in Mechanicsburg to accommodate the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Competency-Based Training and Certification Program. The grant-funded program, managed by Pitt's School of Social Work, trains more than 3,800 child welfare professionals annually.

The new lease will run for 50 months at $91,456 annually.

Last July, Pitt entered into a five-year lease, totaling $495,515, with the Baron Group at 2 Market Plaza Way to meet the program's initial space needs (6,189 square feet).

Next month, the state's Department of Public Welfare will increase the program's funding by $2 million (to a total of $7.6 million) to expand training. The program's staff will increase from 15 to 32 persons.

Trustees approved a seven-year lease, at an initial annual cost of $75,053, for 13,646 square feet of office and training space at Lexington Technology Park, 400 North Lexington Ave., to be used by Pitt's Office of Child Development. Pitt will lease the space from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

The move will enable the Office of Child Development to consolidate its facilities. Currently, the office occupies space in the Cathedral of Learning, 121 University Place and leased space at 5600 Penn Avenue.

In addition, trustees approved leasing an extra 7,236 square feet of office space in the Bellefield Professional Building from NDC Real Estate Management, Inc., on behalf of Pitt's epidemiology department for use in clinical research. The initial annual cost for the five-year lease will be $180,900.

— Bruce Steele

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