University of Pittsburgh
March 17, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, March 18 -- The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees today endorsed plans to move Pitt's home football games to the new stadium on Pittsburgh's North Shore, and to use the current ten-acre site of Pitt Stadium for its new convocation center, a student recreation center and a student housing complex.

"This is not just a good news day for the University of Pittsburgh -- it is a great news day," said Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "Today, through one creatively crafted and carefully integrated plan, we position ourselves both to make a near-term move into the finest athletics facilities in the world and to make one of America's most attractive urban campuses even better. We are delighted that our Board of Trustees was so enthusiastic in offering its approval, and we intend to work aggressively to make this vision a reality -- for our students, for our athletes, and for our fans."

Stated in the resolution passed by the Trustees, the proposals taken together "will advance important institutional goals, including enhanced quality in student life, excellence in intercollegiate athletics, greater cost effectiveness, and mutually beneficial community partnerships."

The resolution further authorized University officers to "move forward with relevant discussions and negotiations and to execute all agreements and contracts necessary to effectuate these proposals."

"The Board believes this to be a 'win-win' situation for everyone involved, including not only our students and Pitt fans, but the Oakland community and the Pittsburgh region," said J. W. Connolly, chair of the Board of Trustees. "The more people hear the entire story, the more they realize how appealing and sensible it is."

The move enables the University to enhance campus life while at the same time strengthen its athletic program. The opportunities for student life enhancement include:

• A large recreation and fitness center, which consistently has been identified by students as a top priority for the campus;

• Additional on-campus housing to meet a pressing demand expressed by both students and Oakland residents;

• A more traditional, aesthetically-pleasing campus setting, that includes acres of green space;

• Better access to events in a Convocation Center located closer to the heart of campus and Fifth and Forbes Avenues;

• A new hub of student life on campus.

"Our goal is to provide a rich campus life for all of our students," said Provost James Maher. "We believe that the resident student experience is important to all the students who take advantage of it and even those who don't will find our campus a more stimulating, attractive, exciting place to spend their out-of-class hours. Thus their whole living and learning experience is enhanced."

Additionally, this plan will provide significant and unique opportunities for University athletics. The football program will be strengthened by playing its games in a world-class facility, fans will enjoy modern amenities on game day, and more revenue can be generated by the athletic programs.

"By playing in the new stadium, we will have the best of the big-time facilities," said Athletic Director Steve Pederson. "For recruiting purposes, facilities are the name of the game. Can you imagine driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel with a recruit, seeing our beautiful city, then turning to the left and saying to a recruit, 'and that's where we play our games'? The impact will be tremendous. And the potential revenue impact of this move will put our program on a competitive level with the country's top teams."

According to Nordenberg, the plan approved by the Board also clearly reflects the University's strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and to community partnerships. "By taking advantage of these opportunities, we help ensure that a world-class facility will be more heavily used by the citizens of this region. And we could not ask for more principled, professional partners than the Steelers. Beyond that, we have been actively advancing the concept that 'the City is our campus' in our cultural partnerships and internship programs. We now will be constructively extending that concept to athletics."

"The University of Pittsburgh is one of the region's largest employers and most important institutional citizens," added Nordenberg. "These moves, which will add strength to Pitt, also will have a positive impact on our Oakland home, on the City of Pittsburgh and on all of Southwestern Pennsylvania."

Pederson noted that the new stadium will be less than four miles from the Pitt campus. "That is not at all unusual in major intercollegiate programs today," he said. "Both the North Shore location and the stadium itself should help in our efforts to attract a broader fan base. The Steelers have publicly expressed their enthusiasm for this initiative and have promised to do everything they can to make the Panthers feel welcome in this new home."

According to the planned timetable, demolition of Pitt Stadium could begin as early as the end of the 1999 football season, with the strong possibility that the Panthers will play in Three Rivers during the fall of 2000. The new stadium is expected to be ready for use in the fall of 2001.