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Life Sciences Building Construction & Smith Hall Renovations

Who will take care of you in the next 10 years?

The primary driving force in this looming crisis is the aging of the Baby Boomer generation: Today, there are more Americans over the age of 65 than at any other time in U.S. history. Between 2010 and 2030, the population of senior citizens will increase by 75 percent to 69 million, meaning one in five Americans will be a senior citizen; in 2050, an estimated 88.5 million people in the U.S. will be aged 65 and older. ("The US is running out of nurses," The Atlantic, February 3, 2016)

More than 290,000 Baby Boomers in Pittsburgh's tristate region are eligible to retire in the next decade. This will result in a significant shortage of skilled employees across many sectors including IT, business and finance, healthcare and life sciences, energy, and advanced manufacturing. Also in this timeframe, economic growth is expected to create 50,000 new positions, adding up to nearly 340,000 open jobs. This gap is already exacerbated by a continuously shriking pipeline of would-beworkers emerging from our education system.


Why a new Life Sciences Building? Why now?

Student and professor in science lab

Pitt-Greensburg is at a tipping point. Our future annual enrollment in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors is conservatively projected to increase by a minimum of 20% over the next five years.

  • It is vital that Pitt-Greensburg remain at the cutting edge of classroom and building design through the continuous improvement of facilities.
  • State-of-the-art facilities are needed if students and faculty are to perform at the highest level.
  • At present, nearly 50% of students attending Pitt-Greensburg major in the Natural Sciences, continuing a 10-year trend of rising interest in the sciences.
  • Enrollment in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Information Technology, Pre-Engineering, and Pre-Medical Careers has grown 38% in the last three years.
  • The number of Natural Science courses taken by our students has increased significantly over the last 10 years.
  • There is a dire need to expand and renovate our sciences facilities to ensure the quality of our academic science- and health-related programming and to guarantee that our students are prepared for the world they will encounter after graduation.
  • We have no separate lab space for analytical, instrumental, or physical chemistry. Labs for these courses are scheduled in time slots when the general or organic lab is free or in B-13 Smith Hall, which is not a lab space. It is a classroom with tables.
  • More significantly, we have no dedicated lab space for students working on senior projects or for faculty research. Chemistry majors use the chemistry stockroom as their research space. Space available for general chemistry labs is limited and most lab sections are too crowded.
  • It is anticipated that by the fall of 2019, the existing science facilities will not accommodate anticipated increases in student enrollment from the new science- and health-related programming.
  • Smith Hall houses the most popular of our three divisions: the Natural Sciences. Originally built in 1976, the classrooms and science labs contain outdated furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
  • Bringing the existing facilities up to a level on par with peer institutions would require several additional labs—all with adequate storage and prep spaces and modest research lab space for faculty and students.

Current nursing standards recommend the following nurse-to-patient ratios:

Intensive Care Unit:
1 nurse for every 2 patients
Telemetry/Progressive Care Unit:
1 nurse for every 4 to 5 patients
Medical/Surgical Unit:
1 nurse for every 5 to 6 patients

The ratio of patients to nurses will drastically increase over the next decade if the predicted shortage of nurses becomes a reality.

Community Benefits

Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Southwestern Pennsylvania

The addition of a new state-of-the-art Life Sciences Building to the campus has broader implications for Westmoreland County and the region.

The addition of an undergraduate satellite nursing program at Pitt-Greensburg brings the Pitt School of Nursing program to Westmoreland County. This allows more students to be enrolled and to graduate from this program, which is consistently rated among the top 10 nursing programs in the United States. Nurses will graduate with BSN degrees and potentially be employed at healthcare facilities in our region.

As Pitt-Greensburg builds its healthcare and health sciences programs, more students can choose to enroll and graduate, creating a supply of trained, qualified workers to help combat the looming shortage of healthcare workers.

The region’s aging population will be cared for by highly qualified individuals.

New income will be brought to and retained in the region.

Support the project now!

CLICK HERE to make an online gift to the Life Sciences Building Construction & Smith Hall Renovation project. If you have questions about the project or your gift, or would like to give another way, please contact us by phone at 724-836-9942 or by e-mail.