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September 3, 2009

What’s New? Places

new-placesAmos Hall, which houses a majority of the University’s sorority students, has re-opened after a year-long renovation. The residence hall has been updated with energy-efficient electrical and water systems and is the first dorm in Schenley Quadrangle with air conditioning.

The bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens all have been redesigned to be compatible with the pre-existing architectural structure. The laundry room on each floor has been moved to a more accessible location near the kitchen area. While the layout of each floor is the same, the input of each sorority has given every floor its own style.


A design has been completed for a new Humanities Center in the School of Arts and Sciences, to be housed in the Cathedral of Learning sixth-floor space formerly occupied by the Darlington Memorial Library.(Materials from the Darlington collection have been placed in storage and are available upon request, but the collection also is available in digital format at

The new center will retain the historic aspect of the space, including many of the pieces of antique furniture bequeathed to the University by the Darlington family, while simultaneously providing a modern, functional work environment for the center’s director and affiliated visiting scholars.

Arts and Sciences also is renovating its graduate studies office on the fifth floor of Sennott Square. The upgraded office will have a new entrance and reception area.


Four consecutive years of record growth in student enrollments at Pitt-Bradford has prompted the campus to plan for a fall groundbreaking on a new residence hall.

The new hall — the third to be built on campus in a five-year span — will house 103 students and bring the campus’s resident capacity to about 900. As of early August, the campus was expecting 1,582 full- and part-time students, an increase of 8.6 percent from a year ago.

Also this fall, work will begin on the $2.5 million, 150-seat Harriett Wick Chapel, which is expected to be completed by late spring.

To support the new buildings and future construction, this summer the campus undertook a $2.5-million electrical upgrade, which should be completed by Thanksgiving.


The 14th floor of the Chevron Science Center has reopened following renovations. The floor was gutted to the outside walls and converted into a modern “ballroom” organic chemistry research facility that will serve as the prototype for the remaining renovation projects for synthetic chemistry applications the University plans to complete as part of its 12-year capital project plan.

Three new or renovated classrooms in Chevron also were completed in time for the start of the fall term.

Additionally, the first floor of Chevron will contain a new electronic reference library as part of the University Library System’s movement to the “Library of the Future.”

Around the corner in the Chevron lobby will be a new café, The Bunsen Brewery, operated by Sodexho. The café is scheduled to be completed this month.


The major renovation and expansion of Benedum Hall continued over the summer. The auditorium on the first floor (room 157) and the adjoining room 158, as well as the second floor auditorium (rooms 226 and 227) and the MEMS engineering and computer classroom (room 229) were renovated in time for the start of the fall term.

The expansion of the Mascaro Center for Sustainability Innovation is ongoing.


New botany labs in Clapp Hall were created for professor Tia-Lynn Ashman. This complex will provide her with an integrated facility split between sample preparation areas and clean rooms for sample analysis.


Facilities Management staff have renovated the Lilly Court area (the plaza between the Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial), including the placement of new deck waterproofing drains and the installation of new paver stones.

Facilities also installed new ADA-compliant ramps on the Cathedral’s first floor.


Workers from PJ Dick-Trumbull are putting final touches on a new green-design wing at Falk School, part of the School of Education. The front facade of the new addition is designed to match the stone finish of the old building. There will be a circular drive to enhance student safety during carpool drop-off and pick-up.

The back of the building has a more modern look with red siding and two walls of windows that enclose the expanded cafeteria and library space. The back also has two outdoor terraces and a sidewalk for easy access to the renovated ground-level play spaces. The building rooftop is planted with varieties of sedum, which will reduce storm water runoff. All building utilities include green design features such as low-flush toilets, automatic faucets, turbo hand-dryers, motion-activated lighting and an energy-efficient cooling/heating circulation system.

New classrooms have open industrial-style ceilings, carpeted floors, ceiling fans, larger European-style windows that open and new furnishings. The existing building, currently being renovated and restored to most of its original design, is expected to be ready for move-in by March 2010.

The expansion plan includes a gradual increase in student and faculty populations each year. Falk is adding a whole new kindergarten class this fall along with smaller increases to other primary classrooms. Enrollment numbers this year are at 310, up from the past year’s number of 278. Falk expects to reach a capacity of 403 students by 2012.

Faculty began moving into classrooms last month and students will return Sept. 8 with a ribbon cutting set for Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.


Construction has been completed on the fourth floor of the Cathedral of Learning for a new Office of Veterans Services. The program is moving from the Registrar’s office into the College of General Studies this fall.


Plans are underway for the grand opening of the 2,000-square-foot fitness center behind the gymnasium in Chambers Hall on the Greensburg campus. The event will include a rededication and 20th anniversary celebration. The renovation project included coaches’ offices and locker rooms. Delivery of new fitness equipment is expected by Nov. 1.


The Mountain Cat Club is Pitt-Johnstown’s newest entertainment venue. Located in the student union, the club features a dance floor, stage and a disco ball, and provides a programming area for Student Affairs activities such as dancing, karaoke, performances and poetry readings. The venue also features four flat-screen televisions.

A portion of the student union also was renovated to create a bistro-style restaurant featuring appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pizza.


The third floor of Langley Hall has received a full renovation with four new labs this summer. Work included renovation of the mechanical, electrical and pluming systems and new lab casework.

The primary investigators occupying the labs are Karen Arndt, Jeffrey Brodsky, Joseph Martens and Roger Hendrix.

Langley also had infrastructure/mechanical, electrical and plumbing improvements made to some of the second- and third-floor offices. Work included upgrades to the HVAC system serving the first floor and to the supply/exhaust systems on the third floor.


Renovations to the third floor of Mervis Hall have been completed. The renovations provide improved academic, office and support facilities for Pitt’s MBA and related programs.


The Department of Physics and Astronomy has renovated space for two new labs on the second floor of Old Engineering Hall for professor Hanna Salman’s biological physics research and professor Gurudev Dutt’s nanoscience research.

A lab is being renovated on the second floor of the nuclear physics laboratory in the Van De Graaf Building for professor Brian D’Urso’s nanoscience research. The project is expected to be completed in mid-September. Renovations include portions of the second floor for the D’Urso laboratory and fabrication lab, as well as providing additional penthouse mechanical space.


Pitt-Titusville has refurbished its Spruce Hall student residence complex and Boomer’s café in the student union.

Spruce Hall received a new roof and interior upgrades including new furnishings and new carpeting.

Boomer’s food preparation areas and equipment were redesigned and upgraded to make the facility ready for a planned expansion.

UPT’s two original buildings, McKinney Hall and Bennett Davis Hall, also got a facelift over the summer. Improvements included fresh paint, new landscaping and new entryways constructed with brickwork very similar to the original.

A project to expand wireless access to all UPT facilities has been completed. Previously, students had access to the wireless network only in Haskell Memorial Library or Boomer’s.


enovations to the fifth floor of the William Pitt Union were completed this summer, providing six new meeting spaces for student organizations. Four of the areas have hard-surface flooring enabling groups to practice dance routines and other activities.

There also is a formal area where student organizations can host special events such as workshops and award presentations. Storage space and additional work space were created for smaller organizations.

In addition, rooms 210-216 were renovated to accommodate the student careers center.

—Peter Hart & Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 42 Issue 1

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