The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new $19.2 million, 32,000-square-foot life sciences building at the Greensburg campus.
Ground will be broken in August 2021 with a planned completion date of November 2022. The facility would then be open for classes in the spring of 2023.
“It is exciting to move forward with our plans to construct a new state-of-the-art building with laboratory and instructional spaces for faculty and students in our nursing and natural science programs,” said Robert Gregerson, PhD, president of Pitt-Greensburg. “This project also demonstrates Pitt-Greensburg’s commitment to excellence in academics. Our goal is to provide quality educational opportunities for our students, enabling them to graduate and fill the growing vacancies among regional and state healthcare providers and other high priority STEM occupations.”
Designed by Pittsburgh-based MacLachlan Cornelius & Filoni, the new building will include a clinical lab, simulation suites, telemedicine space, and a computer lab and office suite for the School of Nursing. Critically needed chemistry and biology labs, as well as support spaces, are included in the building design. In its location adjacent to Smith Hall, the new facility will also provide a new corridor connection to Smith Hall, creating a unified Life Sciences Complex.
The addition of this new building will aid Pitt-Greensburg in meeting the enrollment and pedagogy requirements of its science and health-related programs. Future improvements to, and expansion of, the existing science facility (originally built in 1976) will also provide a strong basis for recruitment and retention of students, support enrollment goals for new majors, and increase student satisfaction.
In December 2020, Pitt-Greensburg was the recipient of a $500,000 award toward the construction of the building through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). The RACP is a Commonwealth reimbursement grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Office of Budget. It provides financial assistance for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, and historical improvement projects.
Pitt-Greensburg is at a tipping point, with its future annual enrollment in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors conservatively projected to increase by a minimum of 20% over the next five years. 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. The number of Natural Science courses taken by Pitt-Greensburg students has increased significantly over the past decade.
Additionally, the construction of this new facility will aid in the expansion of community partnerships and is projected to add $3 million in economic output to the regional economy, with the construction phase expected to generate an estimated 125 construction jobs.