Property Watch: Trustees committee approves 3 projects


It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t stop construction projects from moving forward in Oakland, so let’s dive right in.

Pitt projects

The Pitt Board of Trustees’ Property and Facilities Committee approved three projects that will cost around $47 million at its Nov. 18 meeting at Posvar Hall. All three are part of larger ongoing construction jobs on campus.

Two enabling projects for the new Recreation and Wellness Center on O’Hara Avenue will cost $17 million. They include relocating existing utilities and infrastructure from the space where the new center will be and reconfiguring University Drive to provide access to the new facility and emergency access during construction.

The redirected road will make an S curve behind Eberly Hall and come down behind Allen Hall. Upper University Drive, from Centre to Eberly Hall, and the footpath down the hill will have to close during the construction.

Greg Scott, senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations, said work should begin immediately on the enabling jobs. Notices will be sent out when upper University Drive is going to close.

The committee also approved:

  • The replacement of six existing chillers linked to the Starzl Biomedical Science Tower at an estimated cost of $20 million

  • The third phase of the bathroom renovation project at Litchfield Towers, which will take place next summer in Tower B at a cost of $10 million. The other two Towers have already been completed with increased shower count, new finishes and plumbing fixtures and ADA compliant work.

After the committee meeting, Scott said that work on Bigelow Boulevard is moving along as planned. The second of road between Fifth and Forbes avenues will be closed until August 2020.

Bigelow Boulevard

Construction on Bigelow Boulevard

In mid-December, as part of phase II of the Bigelow Boulevard revamp between the Cathedral of Learning and the William Pitt Union, the Union’s Fifth Avenue entrance will close. To ensure that two accessible entrances are still available for the Union, the Bigelow Porch and Lower Lounge will be opened to foot traffic from the outside, forcing the relocation of some of the programming in that space, according to Pitt spokesman Kevin Zwick.

Other projects

  • A proposed 13-story office complex at 3440 Forbes Ave. hit a snag when the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected a variance and two special exceptions requested by developer Wexford Science + Technology, according to the Post-Gazette. Wexford planned to demolish the building that most recently housed CVS (before it moved to the Murdoch building) and build a 188.6-foot structure, more than 100 feet higher than allowed under city zoning law.

  • Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation has entered into an agreement to purchase the site of the former Pittsburgh Playhouse building at 222 Craft Avenue from Point Park University, according to the Post-Gazette. The institute already has a building at 204 Craft Avenue.

  • The Post-Gazette reported this week on Carnegie Mellon University’s push into the neighborhood neighborhood east of South Craig Street along Filmore, Winthrop and Henry streets. Since around 2011, CMU has bought 87 percentage of the square footage of property in that area, the PG reported, but there are still some holdouts.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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