Pitt plans for $17.6m housing expansion by fall 2011

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The University of Pittsburgh plans to open a 155-bed expansion of its Bouquet Gardens student apartment complex by fall 2011 now that a trustees panel has approved it and tens of millions of dollars in other construction and renovation work.

The $17.6 million housing expansion is among projects worth $37.2 million that were authorized Friday by the Pitt trustees property and facilities committee, which met on the university's main Oakland campus.

The varied projects -- seven in all -- touch different aspects of campus life, including a nearly $4.9 million fifth-floor renovation of Pitt's Chevron Science Center, $1.2 million in sprinkler installation work in the Cathedral of Learning and student lounge renovations in the Barco Law Building totaling roughly $1.8 million.

Through various building projects, Pitt has worked this decade and last to offer larger numbers of its students on-campus housing. The Bouquet Gardens expansion will bring Pitt's total capacity to 7,396 beds, up from 5,051 in 1996.

The development will include 48 apartment-style units as well as a campus police substation, laundry and mail facilities, an indoor bicycle storage area and a fitness room for Bouquet Gardens occupants.

"This project increases the capacity of the most popular on-campus housing option among our upper-class students," said Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor and general counsel. "This addition is critical to meeting our demand for on-campus housing."

According to Pitt, the other projects approved Friday include:

• A $5.8 million upgrade and renovation of the Concordia Club for use by such academic programs as a math laboratory, the Freshman Studies program and the Writing Center, along with more office and meeting space for student groups.

• A $3.4 million renovation to the Eberly Hall nanoscience laboratory to create new synthetic and spectroscopy laboratory suites, along with improvements to the chemistry electronics shop.

• A $2.5 million installation of a backup electrical feed for Posvar Hall.

The committee also approved a lease renewal between Pitt and Cityview Properties LLC for space in the Parkview Building to accommodate the Institute for Clinical Research Education and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

The five-year lease is at a fixed yearly cost of $797,472.

Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1977.

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