By SUSAN JONES
Because of Gov. Tom Wolf’s closing of nonessential businesses on March 19 and stay-at-home order on March 23 for Allegheny County, all construction projects on the Pittsburgh campus are now being paused.
In the order, the governor told residents of six counties to stay home until at least April 6 unless they have a dire need to leave. The governor’s website lists all the approved reasons. The other five counties are in the eastern half of the state.
A Pitt spokesman said the University will review and re-evaluate all construction timelines based on COVID-19 developments. “Our team continues to progress on future campus developments remotely including concept design, rendering and costing phases,” the statement from Pitt said.
Jon O’Brien, executive director of Keystone Contractors Association in Harrisburg, told the Post-Gazette that his group, which represents more than 100 commercial construction companies in Pennsylvania, decided to not ask for a blanket exemption for construction. Instead, the trade group is helping with individual exemption requests.
Current work on the Pittsburgh campus includes:
Bigelow Boulevard: The reconstructed and re-landscaped road between Fifth and Forbes avenues, which has been closed since November, is set to reopen before the fall term begins, as is the reimagined space on the Fifth Avenue side of William Pitt Union. In February, Greg Scott, senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations, said the project was on track and that the contractor hadn’t at that point hit any problems that would have slowed it down.
Rec center project: Demolition of the O’Hara Garage were scheduled to start right at the beginning of May, right after the original commencement date. That project, along with tearing down the adjacent Learning Research and Development Center, are to make way for a new recreation center.
Hillman Library: Scott said in February that the third-floor renovations are almost wrapped up. The unveiling will have to wait until after the building reopens. It is now closed to everyone.
Scaife Hall: Construction of a west wing addition to the School of Medicine building has been ongoing for the past several months, including infrastructure work that has caused Lothrop Street to be closed. The original completion date was estimated as December 2021.
Petersen Sports Complex: A floor is being added to the main building to house coaches.
5051 Centre Ave.: The research complex had an original completion date of fall 2021.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 412-648-4294.
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