Rec center starting to rise; opening will be in fall 2024


Jill Krantz, executive director of campus recreation, gave the Senate Athletics and Recreation Committee an update on Jan. 12 about the new recreation and wellness center, which is expected to open sometime during the fall 2024 semester.

Most of what she discussed had already been announced at a series of presentations Kenyon Bonner, vice provost of student affairs, gave last spring. The goal of the building is to be an integrated space that includes dining, recreation, student health services and a University counseling center.

Krantz noted that recreation facilities are one of the key selection criteria when students are picking a college, “that help students feel like this is a place of belonging for them and a place where they can be healthy and well.”

The facility will become the primary recreation space for students, and will be open to faculty and staff for a fee.

“There will be a cost to be able to use it,” Krantz said. “Most of you are aware that the building is funded through student fees. Part of the student wellness fee is what’s funding the physical construction of the space as well as the operations. We haven’t set a fee (for faculty and staff) up for that yet but we are working on what would that fee be, and it will probably be somewhat comparable to what the fee is that students are paying for the building itself.”

Committee members asked whether the fees might be included in the University’s benefits package or if the cost would be on a sliding scale, depending on the Pitt employee’s salary.

Krantz said these are both ideas they’ve heard and are discussing, but no decisions have been made.

The steel structure for the new building is starting to go up now. Krantz said it would not be open at the beginning of the fall 2024 semester, but sometime before the end of 2024. The sidewalk on O’Hara Street in front of the building site will remain closed and fenced off until the center is complete.

The highlights of the building include:

  • A climbing wall that goes up several stories

  • A six-lane lap pool and a little hot tub, which will be available anytime the building is open, unlike the Trees Hall pool that also must accommodate student-athletes. Krantz said they hope to make the pool available to families of Pitt employees on the weekends, which is the current rule at the Trees pool.

  • Multiple courts for volleyball and basketball

  • A lap track that will be above the basketball courts

  • MAC courts with different flooring than the main gymnasium for indoor soccer, badminton, and other sports

  • A game lounge, with pool and ping-pong tables

  • A dining area with a smoothie bar, a poke bar and a space featuring local chefs and cuisine

  • An outdoor pursuits rental center, which will likely have tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and other gear available to rent.

  • Gender neutral changing areas, as well as traditional lockerrooms

  • More functional and body weight training equipment, such as cables and ropes, kettle bells and medicine balls

  • A cardio and strength training area, as well as several multipurpose and cycling rooms.

  • An e-recreation area with PCs, as well as Xbox and PlayStation equipment.

Current employee fitness options

Pitt employees now have access to the following fitness facilities:

University Club fitness center: This space offers cardio equipment, assisted weight machines, free weights and a variety of exercise classes. Hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Fee: $50 per month.

Ignite Fitness: The School of Education’s exercise space in Trees Hall, which is managed by graduate student assistants with degrees in exercise science, is open to Pitt, UPMC and Veterans Affairs employees. It includes cardio equipment, weight machines, free weights, and other fitness equipment, and some fitness classes. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Fee: $150 per semester.

Bellefield Hall: The basketball court and fitness center are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends. The pool is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. All are open to faculty, staff and students at no charge. The free weight room is currently closed because of a water leak during December’s extreme cold weather.

Trees Hall: This facility includes basketball and racquetball courts, as well as a climbing wall, driving range, fitness center, multipurpose room and pool — all of which are open to faculty, staff and students at no charge. Find hours for each area here.

Fitzgerald Field House track: Open for limited hours in the evenings.

Find more information about the new building at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center project website. Questions about campus recreation can be sent to or call 412-648-8210.

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


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