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October 28, 2004

4 Building Projects Approved

Pitt trustees have approved four renovation and expansion projects totaling $18.8 million.

The trustees’ property and facilities committee, which is authorized to oversee property transactions made through Pitt’s treasurer in excess of $500,000 and approve University construction projects costing more than $1 million, approved the four projects at a Oct. 15 public meeting.

The new projects include:

* Benedum Hall nanotech laboratory (step 1). Pitt will renovate 4,000 square feet of space in the sub-basement of Benedum Hall for labs and auxiliary spaces in support of its Institute for NanoScience and Engineering. The University will construct a mezzanine floor within the renovated space for administration and graduate student offices.

The new facilities will include wet labs as well as computer labs for computational analysis. The mechanical, plumbing and fire protection systems will be renovated to meet functional and code requirements.

The total project cost is expected to be $2.325 million to be financed with provost’s reserve funding, plus $35,000 in annual operating costs with funding from Pitt’s E&G (educational and general) budget.

* 3343 Forbes Ave. systems upgrade (steps 1 and 2). At a projected cost of $2,304,700, to be paid with plant fund reserves, Pitt will upgrade the heating and ventilation system in the Forbes Ave. building occupied by the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.

As justification for the project, the property and facilities committee stated that the mechanical systems in the building did not meet University standards for the type of research conducted there, which requires stable heating/cooling temperatures, adequate air flow and sufficient system controls. The work will include replacing the roof-top air handling unit and boilers, upgrading the HVAC controls and fire alarm system and modifying other systems.

* Chevron Science Center ventilation systems upgrade (step 2). Pitt will add another step to its efforts to upgrade and/or replace the 32-year-old, 237,000 square-feet building’s ventilation and related systems and system components. These systems are outmoded, do not meet current regulatory requirements and are inadequate to support the current and future needs of the building’s teaching and research laboratories, background materials provided by the trustees committee stated.

“During completion of the design documents, the scope of the project increased as did project cost. In addition, the rapid rise in steel costs this year contributed to cost increases,” the committee’s justification statement said.

The total project cost for step 2 is $8.5 million, of which $6 million comes from previously approved commonwealth capital funding and $2.5 million will come from additional commonwealth funds recently approved by the state legislature.

* Plum Borough Research Center renovations and addition (step 1). The project consists of alterations and renovations to the Plum Borough research facility to ensure continued compliance with federal laws and regulations governing biomedical research, as well as long-term use of the center.

Included in the project will be an 8,000 square foot addition to one of the three primary buildings at the center site, as well as improvements to the mechanical, building-automation, safety and electrical systems.

The cost of the project is $5,685,860, of which $2,984,695 will be covered by a National Institutes of Health grant; the balance will come from senior vice chancellor for the Health Sciences capital reserves.

-Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 37 Issue 5

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