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August 28, 2008

What's New? Places

The proliferation of roof-top car carriers. Closed streets. Laundry carts everywhere. All the signs that a busy new academic year is upon us once again.

But for many in the Pitt community, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: facilities were renovated; faculty and staff were hired; new academic programs were established.

The University Times asked deans and other school officials to provide a brief look at “What’s New? People, Places and Things” in their areas. What follows is not all-encompassing, but rather an overview of school news based on material submitted.

Information previously published in the University Times was omitted.

What’s New? Places

This year’s classroom improvement projects on the Pittsburgh campus include new finishes and furnishings as well as updated teaching technology.

Among Facilities Management’s projects were the conversion of three offices in Allen Hall into a classroom and the creation of an African-drumming music classroom in Bellefield Hall. The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs saw the renovation of five rooms in Posvar Hall.

Pitt also constructed new volleyball courts and installed seating and electronic equipment to meet NCAA requirements in Fitzgerald Field House; re-landscaped the bowl area near the Petersen Events Center; converted the apartments in Ruskin Hall into an undergraduate 416-bed residence hall; renovated the Trees Hall natatorium with new walls, gutters, drains, heating system and other improvements, and replaced the atrium windows and the Bigelow-side awning at the William Pitt Union.

Lothrop Hall, which houses 676 students, has undergone an aesthetic facelift with new carpeting, paint, furniture and student room lighting.

Housing and Food Services has upgraded several of its campus dining facilities, including the complete renovation of The Perch, the main dining area in Sutherland Hall. The Perch has introduced made-to-order services, such as the Red Hot Chef (a variety of culinary favorites), the Hilltop Grille (traditional cuisine) and Mato’s (deli and salad bar), plus an ice cream bar and a breakfast bar.

Renovations also were made to Chick-fil-A in the Cathedral Café.

Renovations in Pitt’s life science complex, part of the School of Arts and Sciences, continue with new HVAC systems, lighting upgrades and ceiling finishes on the first, second and mezzanine floors of the west portion of Langley Hall. The teaching labs will have new fume hoods, a new exhaust system and upgrades to their utility services. An energy recovery system also is being installed for the building’s exhaust system to supplement the heating and cooling requirements.

A $5.5 million renovation to the fourth floor of the Chevron Science Center has created five new laboratories, a new recitation room, a new stock room and a new instrument room.

A $900,000 investment has been made in new laboratories and core facilities in the Space Research Coordination Center to support the work of geology and planetary science professors Daniel Bain and Emily Elliott, who joined the faculty in January.

The Katz Graduate School of Business has a new 3,000-square-foot financial analysis laboratory. The lab houses 58 computer stations loaded with state-of-the-art analysis software and is equipped with tote display boards, a ticker, plasma display screens and presentation technologies. The $2.3 million lab also includes technology-enhanced breakout and conference rooms.

Pitt-Bradford has opened eight new tennis courts at the Kessel Athletic Complex. Four of the courts will be open to the public when not in use by UPB teams or classes.

UPB’s 144-room Howard L. Fesenmyer House will be dedicated Sept. 5. The $7.3 million, three-story residence hall brings Pitt-Bradford’s on-campus resident capacity to 800.

Despite the new dormitory, housing demands at UPB still surpass the campus’s capacity. About 20 students will be housed this fall at the Best Western Hotel in Bradford. It is the second year the campus has arranged for students to live at the hotel, moving its own furniture into the rooms and retaining drivers to shuttle students to and from campus. Administrators at UPB expect the students will be able to move on campus for the spring semester.

A Crime Scene Investigation House will enable criminal justice students to solve mock crimes. The house is set up like a regular single-family home where professors can create crime scenes and watch their students in action via a surveillance system.

UPB’s first academic building, Swarts Hall, will be rededicated Oct. 3 following a $6.4 million renovation that created new nursing labs (which will mimic a hospital), a large multimedia technology classroom and a psychology lab as well as new suites of faculty offices.

The School of Dental Medicine plans to dedicate the expanded Center for Patients With Special Needs on Sept. 12. The event in Salk Hall is to include the ceremonial passing of a key by dental school Dean Thomas W. Braun to center director Erik Scheifele, head of Pitt’s pediatric dentistry residency program.

The expanded facility on the third floor of Salk Hall has six treatment rooms including two private treatment areas equipped for general anesthesia, a recovery area for sedation and anesthesia patients and a dedicated waiting and reception area.

The Swanson School of Engineering will pay tribute to former faculty member and industrial engineering department chair Albert G. Holzman in an Oct. 3 event dedicating the new Holzman Learning Center. The 4,000-square-foot classroom in Benedum Hall was funded through donations from more than 200 industrial engineering alumni and friends.

Ground is scheduled to be broken in October for a new fitness center and renovations to athletics facilities at Pitt-Greensburg.

Renovations and upgrades are planned in the Health Sciences Library System. The Falk Library Rare Book Room will be renovated with new climate controls and lighting to protect the fragile materials from deterioration.

A new conference room for library instruction and for use by other groups will be built in the UPMC Shadyside library.

Planning for upgrades to the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic library is to begin shortly and HSLS is preparing to move its Children’s Hospital libraries to the new Lawrenceville hospital campus once construction is complete.

Pitt-Johnstown administrators are working with Facilities Management on the design phase of the proposed Wellness Center. It is anticipated that ground will be broken for the center in early 2009.

UPJ has launched a multi-year campaign to enhance and upgrade upper-class residential facilities on campus. Larkspur Lodge was the first facility to receive a full-scale interior renovation, with new walls, carpeting, furniture and sprinkler system among the upgrades.

Renovations also are underway in the Woodland Townhouse. Walls that separate the living rooms and kitchen areas were removed. New stoves, cabinets, carpeting and counters will be installed.

Heather Lodge renovations are scheduled for this fall.

Construction took place in the Student Union over the summer, as well. Club/organization offices have been upgraded to enhance functionality and appeal. Students also will notice improvements to the multi-purpose Cambria Room.

The Sports Center’s weight facility currently is undergoing a minor renovation that will result in the addition of windows overlooking the pool to add natural light, mirrors to brighten the room and the refurbishing of all weight benches and equipment.

A number of classrooms in the Information Sciences Building have been renovated in time for the fall term. Principal enhancements include improved projection systems and expanded network capacity.

The John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center, part of the School of Medicine, is nearing completion on the Lawrenceville campus of the future Children’s Hospital. Scheduled for occupancy this fall, the 10-story, 300,000 square-foot, wireless-equipped research facility features seven floors dedicated to medical research activities, a state-of-the-art conference center and auditorium.

The open laboratory design, with more than 40 benches and workspaces arranged side-by-side on each floor, optimizes opportunities for research collaboration and for future growth and expansion.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified building includes automatic light timers and views overlooking Oakland, Downtown and the Allegheny River. An indoor walkway will connect the research center with the hospital, which is scheduled to open next spring.

The School of Nursing’s first-floor lobby recently became a more attractive place for students, faculty and visitors, thanks to alumna Rita L. Doll. Improvements include new flooring, paint, window treatments and furniture. The statuary in the lobby will be having its pedestals updated.

Pitt’s Payment Processing office has moved from the Cathedral of Learning to a second-floor suite at 116 Atwood Street, above Chipotle and Caribou Coffee. Business hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The department’s phone number remains the same: 412/624-4004. The fax number is 412/624-7131.

—Kimberly K. Barlow & Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 1

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