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June 6, 1996

Expansion of Bradford's sports center approved

The property and facilities committee of the Board of Trustees Monday unanimously approved an $8 million renovation plan for the sports center on Pitt's Bradford campus (UPB).

Approval of the plan by the committee, which has been delegated authority by the Board of Trustees to approve all University construction projects in excess of $1 million, means that UPB can now approach the state to release its $7 million contribution to the project.

Under the plan, the Tom L. McDowell Sports Center will be completely renovated and a 60,000 square feet addition built to help alleviate overcrowding on the campus.

According to the committee's report, UPB's current enrollment of 1,200 students has made buildings on the campus "overcrowded, over used and in need of basic upgrades." Most UPB buildings were constructed when the campus had an enrollment of 700 students. According to the UPB master plan, enrollment is expected to increase to 1,800 students by the year 2000.

The state's $7 million contribution will be supplemented with $1 million the campus has raised through private gifts. UPB also plans to request $2.3 million from the state to furnish and equip the sports center.

UPB President Richard McDowell said he doesn't know when the state money will be released, "but hopefully it will be within the next couple of months. It's been two years since we proposed the project." The sports center project was part of UPB's 1994 capital appropriation bill, according to McDowell. Once the money is released by the state, he said, it will probably take another six months for the architectural work to be completed and approved.

"It could be as long as a year before we actually start construction," McDowell added.

In the existing building, the plan calls for a new floor, additional seating, a broadcast booth, equipment storage facility, concession stand, public restrooms, enlarged locker rooms and a new public entrance with a hall of fame.

The addition will include an intramural/physical education entrance that will be separate from the varsity gym and allow concurrent activity in a new recreational double-gym with a running track and wrestling room.

Aerobics, dance and weight lifting areas also will be included in the addition, as will offices, training, first aid and storage areas, and seminar rooms for teaching and team meetings. In addition, the plan calls for the construction of a soccer field across from the sports center.

In other business, the trustees' property and facilities committee also approved the leasing of 13,000 square feet of space by Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology from Webster Office Associates in the Bellefield Professional Building, 130 North Bellefield Ave. The initial cost will be $273,525 a year.

–Mike Sajna

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