Going up: Pitt OKs elevator upgrade at Cathedral of Learning |

Going up: Pitt OKs elevator upgrade at Cathedral of Learning

Deb Erdley

Pennsylvania taxpayers will underwrite the bulk of $58 million in building renovations at the University of Pittsburgh under a plan approved by Pitt’s Property and Facilities Committee on Wednesday.

Major projects include a $10.4 million upgrade of elevators in the Cathedral of Learning and a $34 million renovation of Clapp Hall, which houses Pitt’s biological sciences department.

University officials said the Cathedral of Learning elevator project marks the first major upgrade to the aging, notoriously slow elevators in the 42-story, 70-year-old, gothic-style Oakland landmark that houses offices and classrooms. Pitt spokesman John Fedele said the new elevators will contain a computerized, “destination-based” dispatch system that will speed travel time by allowing users to punch in a floor level, rather than just up or down buttons, as they await service.

Project plans call for state funds from Pitt’s capital appropriation to cover $10.24 million of the cost, with the remaining $200,000 coming from the university.

State coffers will provide $28 million for the Clapp Hall project, which university officials said will be built to LEED Silver certification standards for green design, construction and operation. The remaining $6 million will come from university reserves.

Pitt will use state funds for $5 million for renovations to the 13th floor labs at the Chevron Science Center. The remaining $500,000 will come from university reserves.

The university will issue bonds for the $5 million renovation of its computer center infrastructure at RIDC Park in Blawnox.

The university will draw on internal reserves for a $3.9 million helium recovery system at its mid-campus center in Oakland.

Pitt officials estimated the projects approved on Wednesday will generate 307 on-site construction jobs and 123 support jobs.

State money for the work does not come out of Pitt’s general state subsidies but from the state’s annual capital budget allocations for major projects. Last year, the state’s capital budget included $160 million for projects at state and state-related universities, including $65 million for work at the 14 state-owned universities, $20 million each for Pitt and Temple, $40 million for Penn State and $10 million for Lincoln University.

Corbett administration spokesman Jay Pagni said the state has funded building projects at the universities at a rate of about $160 million a year since 2011.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.