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July 23, 2015

Trustees OK FY16 capital budget

The budget and executive committees of the University’s Board of Trustees have approved a fiscal year 2016 capital budget totaling $76.76 million.

Pitt’s operating budget has yet to be set pending resolution of the budget impasse in Harrisburg, but capital budget projects aren’t funded through Pitt’s general appropriation. That left the board free to set the capital budget at the committees’ July 17 meetings.

In a prepared statement, Arthur G. Ramicone, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer, explained the decision to approve the capital budget: “The capital funding we receive from the commonwealth is through a separate budget process from our operating budget appropriation, and Pitt’s FY 2016 capital budget projects do not rely on commonwealth funding.”

The FY16 capital budget is funded by $22.34 million in plant reserves; $7.2 million in auxiliary debt; $6.41 million in auxiliary reserves; $15.83 million in senior vice chancellor, Health Sciences funds; $850,000 in commonwealth funding; and $24.14 million in gifts and other reserves.


More than three-quarters of the capital budget will be directed toward renovation and preservation, with $45 million budgeted for preservation and renovation projects on the Pittsburgh campus and $15 million for projects on the regional campuses, administrators said.

Budget highlights include:

• $8.9 million in Energy Innovation Center (EIC) leasehold improvements that the trustees property and facilities committee approved in March. (See April 2, University Times.) The Swanson School of Engineering’s Energy Storage Technology Laboratory, Electric Power Technology Laboratory, High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory and Pitt Incubator Laboratories will be housed at the EIC, located in the former Connelly Trade Center building in the Hill District.

• $6.5 million to renovate the College Park Apartments at Pitt-Johnstown, which house 140 students. The project includes new mechanicals, roof, sprinklers and the addition of air conditioning.

• $6.4 million to renovate Trees field facilities.

Upgrades at Trees will include a pair of multipurpose artificial turf fields and a removable bubble to permit year-round use. The fields would be used for intramurals and band practice, said Ramicone.

The Trees fields and UPJ apartment projects also must be approved by the property and facilities committee.

• Also subject to property and facilities committee approval is an additional $3 million for the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness at UPJ.

A budget of $20 million previously was approved as part of Pitt’s FY14 capital budget. (See Sept. 12, 2013, University Times.) According to budget documents, the original project, developed in 2013, was based on historical costs per square foot for similar projects. The current Murtha center budget estimate is based on “approximately 80 percent complete design documents” that take into account the change back to a stand-alone building (rather than an addition to Krebs Hall) and the added scope of an improved entrance, a corridor addition to connect to the Nursing Building and additional fume hoods for the Engineering and Science Building.
Pittsburgh campus preservation

The trustees budgeted $9.8 million in education and general (E&G) construction for preservation projects on the Pittsburgh campus to cover:

•  Replacement of the electrical switchgear in Chevron Science Center;
•  First- and second-floor upgrades to the four-pipe system in the William Pitt Union;
•  Elevator upgrades in the Salk Dental Annex, Thackeray, Barco Law and Frick Fine Arts buildings;
•  Mechanical upgrades in Barco Law, LRDC and Craig Hall;
•  Electrical upgrades in Thaw Hall;
•  A new fire alarm system in the Center for Bioengineering;
•  Replacement of the 4th-floor roof on the Cathedral of Learning; and
•  General campus sidewalk replacements and common area upgrades.


Other Pittsburgh campus projects in the E&G capital budget include:

•  $2.4 million in programmatic renovations (excluding health sciences) for provost reserve projects that will be identified later;
•  $1.9 million for the Innovation Institute Gardner Steel Service Center;
•  $1.5 million in leasehold improvements for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence Parkvale Annex;
•  $1.5 million in classroom renovations;
•  $1.29 million for the Schools of the Health Sciences to cover simulators and upgrades to the Salk Hall waiting areas for the School of Dental Medicine, upgrades to the computational center and student laboratory space in Salk Hall for the School of Pharmacy and student lounge upgrades and increased storage space in Victoria Hall for the School of Nursing;
•  $1.14 million for IT upgrades in various campus buildings;
•  $ 0.91 million for general campus security upgrades;
•  $ 0.86 million for statistics department renovations in Posvar Hall.

Non-E&G projects on the Pittsburgh campus included $2.38 million for Sutherland Hall elevator upgrades and a total of $3.62 million for auxiliary enterprise renovations and preservation, $3.16 million of which is budgeted for projects in Housing.

Senior Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences projects

Highlights from among  $16.49 million budgeted for senior vice chancellor, Health Sciences capital projects include $4.5 million to move the Safar Center from the Hill Building to the Center for Bioengineering and $2 million for renovations to neurosurgery labs on the 8th floor of Scaife Hall. Both projects are subject to property and facilities committee approval.

Regional campus preservation and programmatic projects

Approved as part of the capital budget were $4.3 million for regional campus preservation and programmatic education and general (E&G) construction projects and $1 million for Integrated Security to establish regional campuses RS2 infrastructure and enterprise security.

• Pitt-Bradford
Projects at the Bradford campus were budgeted at $1.375 million to cover a new roof and chiller system and raised computer-access flooring replacement at Fisher Hall; phase II improvements at 120 School Street; front entrance and metal roof repairs, lighting upgrades and fitness center HVAC upgrades at the McDowell Sports and Fitness Center; and general campus sidewalk replacement.

Projects at UPJ were budgeted at $1.35 million for new sidewalk pavers, auditorium lighting and carpeting, VAV controllers and controls and stairwell and flooring upgrades at Blackington Hall; installation of a backup generator for the IT server room in Owen Library; physical plant roof and gutter system upgrades; and general campus exterior soffit and fascia replacement and asphalt paving.

Projects at Pitt-Greensburg were budgeted at $1.275 million for concrete repair, light replacement and HVAC control replacement at Millstein Library; flat roof replacement and an HVAC system study at Chambers Hall; emergency operations center facility updates in Cassel and Lynch halls; new stage lighting in the Ferguson Theater; interior painting and new flooring at Smith Hall; and relocation of an emergency generator from Robertshaw Hall to Cassel Hall.

• Pitt-Titusville
The Titusville campus is slated for $300,000 in preservation and programmatic projects including roof and plaster repairs in McKinney Hall; sink and counter replacement in Spruce Hall; main breaker upgrades at the Broadhurst Science Center; and general campus sidewalk and landing repairs.


In the capital budget for regional campus non-E&G construction projects were UPJ lodge and townhouse sprinkler upgrades and $0.51 million in regional campus auxiliary/non-auxiliary projects including new chillers at the UPJ Living and Learning Center; preliminary residence hall design and an academic space study on the Bradford campus; and glass enclosures at UPB’s Hanley Library.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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