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May 3, 2007

$29.5 million in capital projects okayed

The property and facilities committee of Pitt’s Board of Trustees last week approved more than $29.5 million in capital projects and renovations, including projects at the Bradford and Greensburg campuses.

The committee must approve property transactions in excess of $500,000 and University construction projects costing more than $1 million.

Pittsburgh campus projects approved by the committee are:

• Hillman Library plaza replacement, $2.78 million.

The project consists of replacing the terrazzo plaza with a pre-cast concrete paver system to improve drainage.

Included will be removal of the concrete slab, gravel, cement, waterproof membrane and insulation, and replacement with a pedestal paving system designed to improve waterproofing, as well as relining the concrete planters and installing an irrigation system in the planters.

The project will be paid for with physical plant funds, according to press materials distributed at the April 27 committee meeting.

• William Pitt Union basement, 6th and 8th floor renovations, $2.975 million.

Basement renovations include transforming the recreation room into a gathering and gaming area. Included will be a non-alcoholic bar, large TV screen, performance area, dance floor, seating areas and games. The table tennis room will be renovated into a commuter lounge and the arcade room will be made into a game center.

The 6th floor will be converted into the Cross Cultural and Leadership Center, which will house offices of Pitt’s cross-cultural organizations as well as three conference rooms.

Partial renovation of the WPU 8th floor will accommodate a new “governmental corridor” for the Student Government Board, the College of General Studies Student Cabinet and graduate and professional student organizations’ offices.

The William Pitt Union renovations are expected to be completed in time for the fall term.

The project funding sources are Student Affairs reserves ($1.25 million); Provost reserves ($500,000); fiscal year 2007 Provost programmatic education and general (E&G) debt ($500,000), and FY08 Provost programmatic E&G debt ($725,000). The annual operating costs including debt service will be $70,180, to come out of the E&G budget.

• Benedum Hall 11th and 12th floor laboratory renovations, $3.1 million.

Existing laboratory space will be converted to a new lab to accommodate the research of Prashant Kumta, who will join the School of Engineering faculty as a chaired professor in the fall. Kumta has built research programs in the areas of synthesis, structure and properties of multi-functional nano-structured materials for electro-chemical and biological applications. He has been allocated approximately 3,600 square feet in Benedum to meet his equipment and lab requirements.

The project will include upgrading the HVAC systems and adding supplemental cooling units, supplemental power and emergency power equipment.

Funding for the project will come from School of Engineering and Provost reserves. The annual operating costs including debt service of $15,822 will come from the E&G budget.

• Thomas Detre Hall 6th floor renovations, $1.5 million.

A 3,200-square-foot area on the 6th floor of Detre Hall (the occupational/recreation therapy wing) currently is used for offices and program support space. In July, these offices will be moved to the 8th floor, and the 6th floor will be reconstructed to accommodate 9-11 patient beds as swing space during future Detre Hall renovations.

The anticipated start date of the renovation project is Sept. 1.

Funding for the project will come from commonwealth appropriations.

• Renovations and an addition to the Plum Borough Research Center, $9.65 million.

The renovations and addition are needed to ensure continued accreditation and compliance with federal laws and standards governing biomedical research, according to the supporting press materials.

The project includes systems upgrades in two of the three buildings at the center, as well as an 8,000-square-foot addition to accommodate and consolidate housing, holding, testing and support spaces. The addition will include office space, research lab space, locker rooms and break rooms.

Funding for the project will come from a National Institutes of Health grant ($3 million) and Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences capital reserves ($6.65 million). The annual operating cost including debt service will be $64,000, to be funded by Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences funds.

The property and facilities committee also approved three projects at the regional campuses. These are:

• A new student housing facility at the Bradford campus, $7.3 million.

The new three-story apartment-style residence hall will add 144 beds and one resident director apartment. The student units will consist of a mix of suite-style rooms with a ratio of two beds per bathroom and shared living rooms and kitchenettes. There will be 21 four-person suites, 10 five-person suites and five two-person suites.

Pitt-Bradford currently houses 656 students, the highest number of students living on campus in the 44-year history of the institution. The campus goal is to have an 800-student resident capacity, press materials stated.

Construction of the residence hall is scheduled to begin in June, and the new residence is expected to open in time for the 2008 fall term. The building, comprising 41,000 gross square feet, will be constructed of wood stud framing with a face brick exterior consistent with nearby campus buildings, the press materials stated.

Funding for the project will come from auxiliary debt. The annual operating costs including debt service of $1.14 million is expected to be offset by the annual gross income from room fees of $1.16 million.

• Renovations to UPB’s Swarts Hall, $6.4 million.

The project consists of renovating Swarts Hall to provide additional classroom space and offices, as well as upgrading infrastructure, including mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and making the two-story building Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.

The project also will upgrade information technology in Swarts Hall, which opened in 1973.

In addition, O’Kain Auditorium, a 330-seat auditorium and performance stage in Swarts Hall, will be renovated and reconfigured. The first floor will consist of two classrooms, one with seating for 80 students and another with seating for 40 students. The 80-student classroom will be a state-of-the-art distance education center. The space also will house 13 faculty offices.

The second floor of the O’Kain Auditorium space will become a dedicated nursing teaching center, housing labs and faculty offices for Pitt-Bradford’s nursing program. That work is expected to be completed by March 2008.

Funding for the project will come from FY08 E&G debt preservation funds ($5.4 million), FY08 E&G debt Provost classroom funds ($100,000) and gifts ($900,000). The annual operating cost including debt service will be $315,094, to come out of the E&G budget.

• Greensburg campus McKenna Hall addition and renovations, $3.24 million.

The 11,000-square-foot, two-story addition to McKenna Hall will provide storage space and additional classrooms for the fine arts program, including sound-proof music practice rooms, as well as expand the facilities of Computing Services and Telecommunications. The addition also will provide space to relocate Audiovisual Services and to consolidate the campus’s instructional technology operations.

Funding for the project will come from gifts ($2.54 million), Greensburg campus reserves ($500,000) and federal appropriations ($200,000). The annual operating costs including debt service of $88,000 will be funded by the E&G budget.

Also at its April 27 meeting, the property and facilities committee okayed a five-year lease agreement for space in the Kingsley Community Center on Frankstown Avenue in East Liberty. The annual rent of $287,000 is for 14,000 square feet on the 1st and 3rd floors of the community center for the Center for Minority Health (CMH), part of the Graduate School of Public Health.

CMH oversees the Healthy Black Family Project, a multi-year, community-based intervention program designed to promote health and prevent disease among African Americans in the greater Pittsburgh area.

The Kingsley center provides direct access for the African-American community to CMH offices and conference rooms in a building that includes a gymnasium, indoor pool and aerobics and exercise facilities, the press materials stated.

—Peter Hart

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