Board Committee Approves Bigelow, William Pitt Union Transformation Project

The University’s Board of Trustees Property and Facilities Committee approved a project that will transform Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues and the William Pitt Union (WPU) grounds to improve safety, expand accessibility, upgrade utility infrastructure and enhance the sustainability of the campus hub.

This project was among six major initiatives that the committee greenlit ahead of the board’s full meeting on Friday, June 28.

Streetscape and infrastructure enhancements

Through a partnership with the City of Pittsburgh that has been in development since 2017, the University will reconfigure Bigelow Boulevard vehicular lanes to improve traffic flow and safety, install improved bike lanes and create a safer, more efficient central crossing along the busy throughway that connects the WPU and Cathedral of Learning.

The $23.7 million project, scheduled to start Nov. 1, 2019, and be completed in August 2020, will enhance the streetscape and landscape along Bigelow and the WPU grounds and improve stormwater management. The project also includes crucial upgrades to improve the resiliency of Pitt’s aging utility infrastructure, which will enable future projects in the University’s campus master plan.

The WPU grounds enhancement will improve accessibility, replace the driveway and hardscape with a more sustainable surface, upgrade lighting, expand outdoor seating and create improved outdoor gathering space for student activities and events.

Bigelow project updates will be provided via a new website.

Five additional projects approved

The committee approved five other initiatives for the Pittsburgh and Johnstown campuses:

Scaife Hall (Pittsburgh campus)
Phase 1 of the modernization of Scaife Hall, the home of the School of Medicine includes a 104,800-square-foot, seven-story West Wing addition that will house a 600-seat, state-of-the-art lecture auditorium, classrooms, teaching labs, a simulation center and a new anatomy lab. This addition will be located on the corner of Terrace and Lothrop streets. This first phase is proposed for August 2019 through December 2021.

Biomedical Science Tower (Pittsburgh campus)
Replacement of the existing chilled water cooling tower at the Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower (BST) will expand capacity, operational flexibility and reliability to the buildings currently served by the BST chilled water plant, as well as planned future expansion. The proposed timing is July 2019 through April 2020.

Pittsburgh Athletic Association building (Pittsburgh campus)
A 15-year lease and interior improvements for the 30,199-square-foot former Pittsburgh Athletic Association building on Fifth Avenue, set to begin June 1, 2020, will support the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) for approximately five years. The LRDC is relocating as part of the campus master plan, which places the planned Recreation and Wellness Center on the site of LRDC’s current location on O’Hara Street.

Riviera Building (Pittsburgh campus)
A 15-year lease, estimated to begin Jan. 1, 2020, for the 12,408-square-foot Riviera Building on Technology Drive, will support the expansion of the School of Medicine’s Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory. This lab plays a crucial role in supporting immunotherapy trials at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. 

Living-Learning Center (Johnstown campus)
Repairs and updates to the Living-Learning Center, a residence hall that houses 400 upper-class students will address the heating and ventilation systems, renovation of residence hall bathrooms and updates to room finishes, along with upgrades to the electrical, lighting, Wi-Fi and data systems. The work is expected to occur in multiple phases between July 2019 and January 2021.

  • The transformation of Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues and the William Pitt Union will improve safety, upgrade utility infrastructure and create more outdoor gathering space.
  • The William Pitt Union grounds enhancement will improve accessibility, enhance gathering spaces, upgrade lighting and expand outdoor seating for student activities and events.