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July 25, 2013

$128.2 million capital budget okayed

The Board of Trustees executive committee on July 17 approved a $128.19 million capital budget that includes $75.04 million in education and general (E&G) construction projects and $53.15 million in non-E&G construction.

The $20 million John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness project at Pitt-Johnstown is the largest of the 17 E&G projects. It is to be paid for using $10 million in commonwealth funding, $4 million in gifts/other funding and $6 million in auxiliary debt.

The project is a restructuring of an earlier plan to construct a building along Kunk’s Drive near Krebs Hall and the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center that was to include classrooms, meeting spaces, museum and archival space, administrative offices, a memorial garden and parking. (See March 22, 2012, University Times.)

Details on the new project at UPJ were unavailable because a deal between Pitt and the John P. Murtha Foundation has yet to be finalized, said John Fedele, senior associate director of news.

Murtha, a UPJ alumnus, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1974 until his death in 2010.

In 2010 the Murtha family established the Murtha Foundation to raise funds for the UPJ center. The foundation’s assets totaled $733,381, according to its 2012 federal tax return.

The Murtha family also selected Pitt as the repository for Murtha’s papers. Fedele said the collection is being processed and will be housed at the University Library System’s Thomas Boulevard location.

The capital budget includes funding for the concrete step work at the Petersen Events Center.

The capital budget includes funding for the concrete step work at the Petersen Events Center.

The E&G project budget also includes:

  • $12.9 million for the second phase of renovations to Hillman Library;
  • $7.95 million for preservation, upgrades and utility infrastructure;
  • $5.07 million in additional funds for the ground floor of Benedum Hall;
  • $5.06 million to upgrade infrastructure at RIDC;
  • $5 million for the Chevron Science Center 13th-floor renovation;
  • $4 million for renovation and expansion of the Chevron Science Center’s 1st-floor labs;
  • $3 million for student services renovations at the Barco law building;
  • $2.4 million for programmatic renovations (excluding health sciences);
  • $1.93 million for renovations to the William Pitt Union Assembly Room;
  • $1.84 million for a helium recovery system at Old Engineering Hall;
  • $1.14 million for IT upgrades to campus buildings;
  • $1.1 million for landscaping and concrete steps at the Petersen Events Center;
  • $1.02 million for regional preservation and programmatic projects;
  • $1 million for classroom renovations;
  • $905,000 for general campus security upgrades, and
  • $750,000 for projects at the Schools of the Health Sciences.


The largest of eight non-E&G projects in the 2014 capital budget is $8.3 million for construction of a new dormitory and parking lot at Pitt-Bradford. It will be paid for using $5 million in auxiliary reserves and $3 million in auxiliary debt.

Trustees still must approve the project, but construction on the 109-bed residence hall is expected to begin this fall with occupancy in fall 2014, according to a Pitt-Bradford spokesperson.

The other non-E&G projects in the budget are:

  • $5 million for Bruce Hall renovations;
  • $1.15 million for housing renovations and preservation;
  • $5.43 million for other Pittsburgh campus auxiliary enterprises;
  • $662,000 for regional campus auxiliary and nonauxiliary projects, and
  • $32.6 million for projects in the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences area.


The capital projects are budgeted to be funded through $35.13 million in gifts and other funding, $34.07 million in commonwealth funding, $17.55 million in senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences funds, $17.14 million in auxiliary reserves, $15 million in E&G financing and $9.3 million in auxiliary debt.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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