Future of Trees and Bellefield rec spaces up for debate


Most of the Senate Campus Utilization, Planning and Safety committee’s meeting on Jan. 25 was taken up by reports on the new drone policy and on campus recreation, which have both been presented at other Senate committees (follow the links to previous University Times stories).

But a few interesting tidbits emerged during the meeting:

Bellefield and Trees recreation spaces: Jill Krantz, executive director of campus recreation, said at the end of her report that when the new wellness and recreation center on O’Hara Street is opened in fall 2024, the Department of Campus Recreation will no longer be supervising the current facilities in Bellefield and Trees halls. At Bellefield, she said, “I don’t think anybody wants that pool.” The other fitness areas are slated to be repurposed for other uses. As for Trees Hall, “We will vacate those spaces that we currently operate, … like our fitness space downstairs, the racquetball courts, that sort of thing. I haven’t worked through, because we have some time to figure out, do those just stay open and there’s a security guard there like there is now so people can go and use them? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know we won’t be supervising them.”

Craig Hall plaza and wall: Irene Frieze, professor emeritus of psychology, asked what was happening with the deteriorating brick outer wall at Craig Hall, which she had first brought to facilities management’s attention a few years ago. Scott Bernotas, vice chancellor for facilities management, said the problem extends onto the building’s plaza and slightly into the parking garage. He said a structural engineer and an architect have looked at it and a design is nearing completion for rebuilding the space. Bernotas said they hope to get the project out to bid soon.

Faculty union discussion: Committee co-chair David Salcido said that a representative from the faculty union has offered to come to a future meeting, probably in February, to discuss the intersection between the union’s work and the work of the committee, particularly how it applies to health and safety issues.

Spring safety fair: Ted Fritz, vice chancellor for public safety and emergency management, and Pitt Police Officer Heather Walker reminded everyone about the Spring Safety Fair, which will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 27 in William Pitt Union. “We hope that the Safety Fair is viewed as not just a student safety fair but also one that staff and faculty can attend and take something from,” Fritz said. The Office of Public Safety partners with the Student Government Board for this event, which usually attracts 35 to 40 different organizations. This year will see the return of free pizza, popcorn and cotton candy, which weren’t available during the pandemic. Look for more details as the event approaches.

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


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