Pitt–Johnstown Opens New Chemical Engineering Building

Chemical Engineering Building at Pitt–JohnstownThe University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown officially opened its new Chemical Engineering Building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 21.

Pitt–Johnstown President Jem Spectar said the new building is “a place … where a strong community is made possible when you build a foundation for talent that is competitive, not just here, but nationally and globally.”

The two-story, 7,000-square-foot Chemical Engineering Building houses laboratories, classrooms, faculty offices and student study areas and connects to the east side of the John P. Murtha Engineering and Science Building. Construction began in February 2018; Bostwick Design Partnership, Massaro Corporation and H.F. Lenz engineering worked on the project.

“Students will conduct experiments related to chemical separation, thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, process control, and reaction engineering,” said Ramesh Singh, assistant professor of chemical engineering. “In addition, we have a simulation lab where students will learn real-world, hands-on skills by operating and troubleshooting chemical processes in virtual environment.”

Michael Marr, business integration lead for Shell Appalachia, said that the construction of the new Chemical Engineering Building was part of the process of creating a “new talent pipeline that companies like Shell will access in the future.”

He pointed to the multi-billion-dollar chemical plant Shell is building in Beaver County as one of that pipeline’s endpoints.

“We recognize that in order to design, build and operate a chemical plant in the 21st century, you can’t build without engineers,” Marr said. “We appreciate the university building this building here because, without the buildings to teach the engineers, you don’t have the engineers, of course, and without engineers, you can’t run businesses like Shell does here in Pennsylvania and around the world.”

The Chemical Engineering Building opening marked another milestone in the program’s progress.

  • The renovated and renamed John P. Murtha Engineering and Science Building was officially dedicated in a 2017 ceremony.
  • Overall engineering enrollment increased by 24 percent in 2017.
  • Chemical engineering degree programs were added in 2016.
  • A Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant awarded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in September 2016 helped to support the projects in part.
  • Pitt-Johnstown began its official transition to engineering from engineering technology programs in 2015.