University of Pittsburgh
March 16, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

The Situation

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently decided to fund construction of two new stadiums on Pittsburgh's North Shore. That made it possible for the University to consider moving its home football games into a state-of-the-art facility. The University has determined that the opportunities created by such a move could be dramatic and exciting … and athletics is only part of the story. Here are the specifics of what the University is considering:

The Opportunity for Student Life

The ten acres now occupied by the stadium would be used to enhance campus life. Students would have …

A recreation and fitness center. Freeing up the stadium site would allow the University to locate the Convocation Center there. If so, the Center would be expanded to include a first-rate recreation and fitness facility, which has been identified by students as a top priority. Cardiac Hill would become Cardiac Fitness Hill!

Additional housing. A portion of the site would be used to meet the pressing demand, from students and from our neighbors, for more on-campus housing. One possibility is to build garden apartments similar to those now under construction on Bouquet Street.

A more traditional campus setting. A portion of the site would be set aside for a park-like green space, with trees and grass. This has been another top student priority and would be a distinctive feature to an urban campus.

Better access to events. Locating the Convocation Center closer to the heart of campus and to Fifth and Forbes Avenues would make events more accessible. It would also ease parking difficulties.

A new center of it all. The combination of a recreation center and student housing will result in an exciting new hub of campus life – right in the heart of Oakland.

The Opportunity for University Athletics

Moving our football games to the new stadium would produce a number of benefits for the University's athletic program. It would mean:

A stronger football program. The opportunity to play in a world-class stadium, combined with the UPMC training facility on the South Side and our strong coach, would increase our ability to recruit top athletes. And that would give students and alumni something to really cheer about – the thrill of a consistently competitive team.

Modern amenities on game day. The new stadium will"have it all" for our fans. The charm of a 1920s stadium will pale in comparison to one of the best facilities in America.

More money for other programs. And the revenue from a strong football program could be used to strengthen the entire athletic program.

The Financial Benefits

Moving to the new stadium provides us with unexpected financial opportunities:

A smart financial move. We would be able to move into a state-of-the-art facility without increasing our debt service.

Funds available for reallocation. The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent annually on maintaining our 75-year-old stadium could be directed to other student activities and academic programs.

Funding not needed. Future fund raising for the renovation of the current stadium would not be necessary. Instead, donations could be directed for scholarship and program support.

The Opportunity for Our Community and Region

Not only would the University benefit from the stadium move, the community around our Oakland campus, and the Pittsburgh region, also would gain. The move would:

.Bring a steady stream of events into the business district. Unlike the football stadium, which hosts only six football games a year, the Convocation Center would accommodate over 50 University-sponsored events each year. This would represent a steady stream of potential customers for area merchants.

Make the most of public/private investment. By moving our program, the University will be helping the region to make the most of its new facility, while opening up our home football games to whole new audiences.

Build on two proud football traditions. Pittsburgh is a football town. Together, the traditions of Panther and Steeler football could generate a new pride and energy in a region undergoing an exciting transformation.

Strengthen the bond between students and region. Our region has a vested interest in keeping young, talented people in the area, and one key to that is giving them positive experiences while they are here as students. The stadium move would enhance our students' connection to the city and expose them more broadly to our region and its many assets.

Current Status

None of this is final yet, but the University believes a move makes sense. The opportunity is not just to move Panther football to a new home, but also to replace an antiquated stadium in the heart of campus with housing, green space, and a Convocation Center large enough to feature a recreation and fitness facility that would be second to none. The University is continuing to explore these opportunities and determine whether all the necessary details can be worked out. 315