Money approved for enabling work at new arena site

Rendering of gymnastics space in the new arena


The Property and Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees on June 21 approved $15 million for “enabling work” for the new arena and sports performance center planned for the green space next to Petersen Events Center.

The center is part of Victory Heights — a multi-facility project that was announced in January 2020 and has seen some delays because of the pandemic. The arena will be the new home for gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling. Sixteen of Pitt’s 19 varsity teams will train in the sports performance center.

The work, scheduled to start in August, will entail creating a shoring system as necessary for construction; creating a roadway for public-utility and emergency vehicles; and excavating the site. This preliminary work should be completed by January 2023. Pitt Athletics’ timeline for Victory Heights anticipates a fall 2024 opening for the arena and sports performance complex.

The full project schedule for the arena and center will be presented for approval at a future Property and Facilities Committee meeting.

In 2020, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said the University will pay for the $250 million in building projects for Victory Heights through debt financing, and simultaneously will be raising money through donations to offset the cost. A spokesman for Pitt Athletics said that more than $12 million has been raised so far.

Other parts of the Victory Heights project include:

  • An addition to the Petersen Sports Complex, which was completed in 2021. The $16.5 million project consolidated into one building the coaches that were housed in Fitzgerald Field House and to provide team meeting rooms and a student-athlete lounge.

  • An indoor track & field and marching band complex, which fulfills a promise to 100-year-old Pitt alumnus Herb Douglas, who won the bronze medal in the long jump at the 1948 London Summer Olympic Games, to provide on-campus track facilities. The complex will be built where Pitt Sports Dome is located now.

  • A lacrosse stadium for Pitt’s newest team, which completed its inaugural season this spring. The stadium originally was planned for next to the Petersen Sport Complex, where the OC parking lot is located, but the master plan currently doesn’t list a location or a completion date.

  • A 44,000-square-foot renovation to Petersen Events Center to provide a student-athlete hub focused on academics, nutrition and life skills. The plan list fall 2026 as the opening date for this center.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 724-244-4042.


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