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November 20, 2008

$43.2M in construction/renovation projects okayed

Pitt has approved $43.2 million in seven construction and renovation projects as well as four leases. The property and facilities committee of Pitt’s Board of Trustees approved the expenditures Nov. 7. That committee must approve property transactions in excess of $500,000 and University construction projects costing more than $1 million.

Among the approvals is a $14.3 million phase one project to acquire and prepare land for the construction of a sports complex on 12.5 acres of the former Robinson Court property adjacent to Trees Hall.

The complex will include baseball, softball, soccer, track and intramural facilities. The complex is expected to be ready for athletic competition in 2011, officials said.

In introducing the projects to the trustees committee, Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor, said, “There are four leases, one of which will be with UPMC, another tax-exempt organization, so it will not result in any property taxes. The other three will mean a total of $114,000 in local real estate taxes. Additionally, the projects have a total construction cost of $29 million, on which the University will pay $57,731 in business privilege taxes.”

The projects are expected to generate 206 construction jobs and 82 construction-related jobs, Cochran said.

Committee chair John Pelusi noted, “We routinely get taken to task for not paying taxes, but there are an awful lot of leases that get done by the University of Pittsburgh that we do pay real estate taxes on, as well as business privilege taxes on construction and these projects lead to employment of numerous people.”

The trustees also approved:

• $9.1 million for renovation of sorority housing in Amos Hall.

• $2.6 million for expansion of Greensburg’s Chambers Hall fitness center to accommodate locker rooms and coaches’ offices.

• A $6.1 million lab renovation and infrastructure upgrade in the Van de Graaff Building for nanoscience research.

• $4 million to install a 1,000-kilowatt diesel emergency generator for the so-called mid-campus complex, which includes the Van de Graaff Building, the Space Research Coordination Center, and Old Engineering, Thaw and Allen halls.

• $5.6 million for a redesign of the steam condensate collection system for University and UPMC facilities to support the Carrillo Street Steam Plant.

• $1.5 million for renovations of the fifth floor of the William Pitt Union as well as new heating and ventilation for the sixth floor.

In addition, the trustees approved four leases:

• The Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology will enter a 10-year lease beginning in May 2009 at an initial annual cost of $418,132 for 19,346 square feet in the Bakery Square development at 6425 Penn Ave.

 • The Clinical and Translational Science Institute will begin a five-year lease in January 2009 with UPMC at an initial annual cost of $235,380 for 9,419 square feet in Forbes Tower, 3600 Forbes Ave.

• The Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center will enter into a lease amendment through Nov. 30, 2013, at an annual rental cost of $161,784 for an additional 2,413 square feet in Birmingham Towers, 2100 Wharton St.

• Institutional Advancement will enter a 10-year lease beginning in May 2009 at an initial annual cost of $492,678 for 20,965 square feet at 128 N. Craig St.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 7

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