University of Pittsburgh
November 17, 2005

As Part of a $55 Million Construction Package, Pitt to Erect New Public Safety Building in Oakland

Carrillo Street Steam Plant to add capacity
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh will construct a $6 million University Public Safety Building that will not only provide necessary space and facilities for a modern and expanded campuswide security monitoring and command center, but also will be more visible and accessible to the public and University community than the current Pitt Police Department offices in Posvar Hall, according to Pitt Executive Vice Chancellor Jerome Cochran.

The new building and an expansion of the University Carrillo Street Steam Plant were among the highlights of the recent public meeting of the University's Board of Trustees Property and Facilities Committee, which approved $55 million in construction projects and leases that are expected to contribute approximately $125,000 annually in real estate and property taxes through rentals to commercial enterprises.

"These investments are a clear, significant, and measurable reflection of the momentum that continues to build in our University. But it is important to note that the projects approved today also are investments in the future of Pittsburgh and of Western Pennsylvania," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg at the meeting.

"First, as almost everyone is coming to understand, University-driven research is big business in this region. In fact, the education and knowledge sector has been the largest single producer of new jobs over the course of the past decade," the chancellor added. "Pitt alone has increased its own employment base by some 25 percent, almost entirely because of the research dollars we have been able to import into this region. In addition, our technology has become the source for increasing numbers of spin-out companies, with the new jobs they are creating. The investments in new and improved research space will help us sustain that very healthy pattern.

"Second, our very sizeable investment in a new public safety building is a sign of our broader commitments to our neighbors, as well as to those who study and work at the University. Not too many years ago, the public safety investments of most universities were not very significant. However, despite the fact that Oakland is the third-busiest commercial center in the state of Pennsylvania, there is not a city police station here-and our own police force now is the third largest in Allegheny County, with a very significant share of its policing activities involving those who have no connection to our campus. In short, we are doing more and more of what city government used to do. That is true in terms of keeping the streets clean, in terms of such functions as building inspections, and it is true in policing," the chancellor concluded.

The new University Public Safety Building will be located on the site of a parking lot adjacent to the Eureka Building at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Halket Street. The 26,000-square-foot structure will have three stories plus a basement and include a parking deck and surface parking to accommodate 54 parking stalls and a motorcycle cage.

"This new facility demonstrates the University's ongoing priority to provide a safe environment not only for our students, faculty, and staff, but for residents of Oakland and the city of Pittsburgh," Cochran told the committee members. "Recently, we determined that 40 percent of the calls our police department responded to were from non-University sources and 80 percent of the criminal offenses in which our police made arrests were committed by individuals not affiliated with the University."

Committee Chair John Pelusi told the committee that Pitt's $7 million annual public safety budget, which goes toward the policing of Oakland as well as the University, shows the commitment the University has to assisting the city's police force in Oakland, which has the third-highest concentration of population in the Commonwealth, after downtown Philadelphia and downtown Pittsburgh.

The Property and Facilities Committee vote allows University officials to begin the planning and design phase of the project; the actual construction timetable has yet to be determined.

Cochran said that since 1998, the University's Police Department has grown from 98 to 133 employees, 74 of whom are commissioned officers. The current space in Posvar Hall has proved to be insufficient to accommodate this growth; specifically, there is a need for increased space for locker and shower facilities for female officers.

The facility also will house the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, currently located in Benedum Hall, allowing more space for the School of Engineering to expand academic and research programs.

The committee also approved $6.8 million for expanding the capacity of the Carrillo Street Steam Plant. Currently, the University receives the majority of its steam, which is primarily used for heating, from the Bellefield Boiler Plant (BBP), a 100-year-old coal-fired plant. The power requirements brought on by Pitt's recent construction and expansion will soon exceed Pitt's owned capacity of BBP and the original three boilers constructed at the Carrillo site. This project will allow for three additional, energy-efficient boilers to be purchased and installed at Carrillo, with the project expected to be completed by fall 2007.

"The investments in the Carrillo Steam Plant show our commitment to energy use that is both economically and environmentally responsible," said Chancellor Nordenberg. "Just recently, we received the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Gold Award from the U.S. Green Building Council. I am not sure whether the Carrillo steam plant will win any awards. But the fact that we are moving away from our decades-long dependence on the Bellefield Boiler plant to this more modern source of power is another move that not only is good for Pitt but is good for the community."

The committee earmarked $28,794,000 for construction of the Regional Bio-containment Laboratory in the Biomedical Science Tower III; the laboratory will be a comprehensive, state-of-the-art Bio-safety Level 3 facility, one of the few such facilities in the country. The National Institutes of Health is providing approximately $21.6 million for this project.

Additional funds-$600,000-also were approved for the recently completed repairs to the roof of the Petersen Events Center. The University is engaged in litigation to recoup the funds spent to repair the roof.

Also approved at the meeting were funds for renovations to the 4th- and 5th-floor laboratories of Langley Hall, at $4.5 million, and the 15th floor of the Biomedical Science Tower, at $3 million.

In addition, the committee approved three leases with:

Sterling Land Company for office space in One Sterling Plaza, 201 N. Craig St., to house three Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic research programs: the Center for Late Life Mood Disorders, the Center for Adult Mood Disorders, and the Center for Bipolar Disorder. The lease runs from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2011, at an initial annual rental of $748,710. The lease contains a five-year renewal option.

Cityview Properties for office space in the Parkvale Building, 200 Meyran Ave., to be occupied by programs of the Center for Biomedical Informatics. The lease runs from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2011, at an annual rental of $268,232.50. The lease contains a five-year renewal option.

Cityview Properties for office space in the Parkvale Annex Building, 3520 Forbes Ave., to be occupied by the Department of Neurological Surgery's Center for Injury Research and Control and the Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience. The lease runs from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2011, at an annual rental of $153,686.25. The lease contains a five-year renewal option.