University of Pittsburgh
March 26, 2015

Pitt Trustees Approve $37 Million in Renovations and Three Leases, Including Energy Innovation Center

Parran and Crabtree Halls slated for $34 million in additions, renovation
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The Property and Facilities Committee of the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees today approved $37 million for two renovation projects, as well as three leases, including a 15-year lease for the Energy Innovation Center (EIC), which will house three energy-related laboratories from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and incubator space for up to six innovation projects.

The EIC, at 1501 Bedford Ave. in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, will become home to the Energy Storage Technology Laboratory, the Electric Power Technology Laboratory, the High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory, and the Pitt Incubator Laboratories. Pitt’s lease with EIC begins Dec. 31, 2015, at an initial rental cost of $311,550 and runs through January 31, 2031, with a five-year renewal option for the University.

The EIC is being developed by Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation to engage corporate and community leaders, align workforce development and education, develop and demonstrate technology, and incubate businesses to support emerging clean and sustainable energy markets. 

It will provide a focused, high-profile showcase for energy research near downtown Pittsburgh, encourage more direct industrial partnering, and permit larger-scale research initiatives, which cannot be conducted in the current space on campus.

The Energy Storage Technology Laboratory, headed by Professor Prashant Kumta, focuses on research in the energy-storage area.

The Electric Power Technology Laboratory, led by Professor Gregory Reed, will focus on advanced electric power grid and energy generation, transmission, and distribution-system technologies; power electronics and control technologies; renewable energy systems and integration; smart grid technologies and applications; and energy-storage development.

The High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory, led by Professor Brian Gleeson, focuses on the thermodynamics and kinetics of gas/solid and solid/solid reactions with emphasis on high-temperature degradation of metallic alloys and coatings in power generation and aeronautics.

The Pitt Incubator Laboratories, headed by Vice Provost for Research Mark Redfern and the University’s Innovation Institute, will consist of six labs that will be set aside for research-innovation incubator space. The concept is expected to foster collaborations between the University and industry. 

Other leases approved today by the committee include a five-year renewal and three five-year renewal options for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute for its space at UPMC Shadyside and a five-year renewal for Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence for its facilities at the Parkvale Annex Building, 3520 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

The $34 million addition and renovation project for Parran and Crabtree Halls are part of the University’s 12-year facilities plan. The project will involve complete renovation of all nine floors of Parran Hall, including upgrades to the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems; new fire alarm and sprinkler systems; a new security system; and upgrades to the restrooms to become ADA compliant. The project will convert some laboratories into office space, classrooms, conference rooms, and support space for the Graduate School of Public Health. The renovations are designed to achieve the Gold standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The committee also approved an additional $3 million in laboratory renovations for the Department of Chemistry in Eberly Hall. The project will create a sensor-testing laboratory for research on carbon nanomaterials and will double the current laboratory space for this research.