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February 17, 2000

Construction, renovation projects totaling $23.5 million approved

The property and facilities committee of Pitt's Board of Trustees Feb. 14 approved six construction and renovation projects totaling $23.5 million, including a new home for the University's artificial organ development program.

The McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development, which has been housed at the University's Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering since 1992, will move across the Monongahela River to the former site of LTV Steel on the South Side.

The site and all assets will be transferred from the Urban and Redevelopment Authority (URA) to the University May 1 at a cost of $10.2 million. But gifts and grants funds of more than $10 million from a half-dozen private donors already have been raised, leaving $190,600 to come from the University's unrestricted plant funds.

Construction of the 45,000-square foot building, which is already underway, is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

The new center will house offices, research labs, and surgical, recovery and observation facilities.

About 9,800 square feet of the new center will be reserved to lease as incubator space for small start-up companies, which have not been identified.

Vacated space in the biotech center will be taken over by other medical school research programs.

The property and facilities committee also approved:

* $2.7 million for renovation of the 4th floor-east wing offices in Scaife Hall to make contiguous space to support the responsibilities of Arthur Levine, who is senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine.

In supporting the proposal, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said, "Currently, there is not adequate space available for Dr. Levine and his staff in his combined roles. These renovations will also make Dr. Levine easily accessible to the other schools of the Health Sciences." The chancellor said that research areas housed in that part of Scaife have moved or are slated to move to other renovated locations.

Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor, added that no improvements have been made to this part of Scaife Hall since it was built in 1955.

Renovations will include new mechanical and electrical systems, the removal of asbestos and installation of code-required fire suppression systems. The total space to be renovated is 19,500 square feet.

Funding will come from the budget of the senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences.

* $1.4 million for replacing 1,200 feet of the steam distribution line. This line provides steam to buildings owned by the University, UPMC Health System, Children's Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital and the Pittsburgh Board of Education, primarily in the DeSoto Street area. Pitt's cost of the project is 29 percent of the total of $4.7 million and will be paid out of the University's steam line reserve fund.

* $1.4 million for the renovation of Laurel Hall, a two-story dormitory housing 122 students at the Johnstown campus. Renovations will include building systems, built-in fixtures and furniture and replacement of furnishings. Funds will come from the University's auxiliary debt service.

* $3.2 million for phase II of new student housing at the Greensburg campus. Three 12,000-square foot buildings will be constructed with garden-style apartments for 96 students. Pitt will pay for the construction using auxiliary debt service.

* $4.6 million for phase I of construction of a new communications, art and technology building at the Bradford campus. The new 58,000-square foot building will house classrooms, studios, faculty offices, rehearsal space and a 500-seat theater. Phase I will be paid for by gifts already secured. Pitt expects phase II to be paid for with commonwealth funds, in the amount of $8.5 million, to be released after the 2003 fiscal year begins.

"The provost has approved the expanding enrollment at Bradford which requires this building," Cochran said. Architects will provide designs for the overall building, but the phase I construction can stand on its own to allow flexibility for future additions, he said.

The property and facilities committee is authorized to approve Pitt construction projects in excess of $1 million. The committee must report its actions to the trustees, but no further board action is required.

–Peter Hart

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