July and August are traditionally the slowest months on campus (and elsewhere), as people finish up vacations during the long, hot days before school starts.
But Pitt’s administration has been keeping busy with a few big announcements:
Baum Boulevard development
Construction is expected to begin this fall to transform 5000 Baum Blvd. into a hub for the Immune Transplant and Therapy Center after the Board of Trustees Property and Facilities Committee authorized the purchase of the building in late July.
The committee approved the purchase of the historic building from UPMC for $25 million and authorized senior management to continue working with Wexford Science & Technology LLC to develop the property.
The first phase of 5000 Baum is expected to open in 2020 with an investment of approximately $250 million by Pitt in partnership with Wexford.
The project in the former Ford Motor Company assembly plant and showroom in Bloomfield was announced in March.
The 5000 Baum project, in partnership with UPMC and the business community, is the largest of four recent Pitt projects aimed at growing the Pittsburgh Innovation District by better connecting the area’s expertise in life sciences research with companies that will bring innovative creations to market.
The renovations are expected to generate about 2,000 local jobs, according to information released by the University when the project was announced, and more jobs will be available when 5000 Baum opens.
Titusville money infusion
On Aug. 9, the University received a commitment of $2 million from the state toward the transformation of the Titusville campus, to house Pitt programs as well as education and job training programs operated by other parties.
The money will be matched by more than dollar for dollar by Pitt to transform some campus buildings into structures suitable for the campus’s new uses.
Under the campus hub model, partners will offer specialized programs with active input from regional employers. Pitt-Titusville will continue to offer programs for traditional college-age students in addition to developing programs for nontraditional students that may include online, evening, intensive and executive learning options.
“The state support will be used to transform buildings on the campus to use by multiple partners: shared space for us, our community college partner and a training center,” Lawrence Feick, interim president of Pitt’s campuses in Titusville and Bradford, said in a news release. “All the higher education institutions will be integrated, in part though the space. For example, all health-related courses will be taught in the same building regardless of which partner is offering the course.”
No date has been announced yet on when construction will begin.
Sharon Smith retiring
On July 27, Pitt-Greensburg president Sharon P. Smith announced that she will retire at the end of next June.
Smith, the school’s fourth president, has been the leader of UPG since 2007. During her tenure, she led the transformation of the liberal arts programs by integrating them with digital learning, and introduced new majors in nursing, health care management, public policy, education and Spanish, as well as five new certificate programs. The campus currently offers 29 undergraduate degrees along with 24 minors.
The search for a new president will take shape after new Provost Ann E. Cudd, who officially joined Pitt on Sept. 1, gets settled into her job, according to Louise Sciannameo, assistant provost for strategic communications.