Ground was broken today at the University of Pittsburgh for the school’s new 40,000-square-foot Wellness Center. Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar presided over the ceremony. Also participating in the ceremony were Pitt-Johnstown Advisory Board Vice Chair and University of Pittsburgh Trustee Howard M. Picking, III; Student Government Association President Jeffrey Burtner; Senator John Wozniak (’78); Chairman of the Richland Township Board of Supervisors Melvin Wingard; Joe Fink and Park Rankin from the University of Pittsburgh Facilities Management; and P.J. the Pitt-Johnstown mountain cat mascot.
In his remarks, President Spectar emphasized the importance of the facility. “Today we celebrate the groundbreaking for a new physical structure. But, this will be more than just a building. It will be a place where our students can explore the very important connection between the mind, body, and spirit.” He also spoke about the energy that is transforming the campus. “Each of you here today is helping to sustain a momentum that exists at Pitt-Johnstown; a momentum that has helped us to move forward in a time when our nation faces unprecedented challenges. Despite those challenges, we have introduced new degree programs, upgraded our facilities, enhanced the student experience, reached out to our alumni, and achieved national recognition.”
The new Wellness Center, the campus’ 36th building project, will feature a three-lane, elevated running track, cardiovascular and strength-training equipment, dance/exercise/classroom space, two multipurpose courts for basketball and volleyball, and an indoor climbing wall. The facility will also include an outdoor wellness park.
The facility, which is expected to be complete in early 2011, was designed by WTW Architects of Pittsburgh. Carnegie-based TEDCO will serve as the general contractor. Construction will cost $9.7 million. Additional information about the project is available at: http://www.upj.pitt.edu/23194/.
The groundbreaking coincides with Pitt-Johnstown’s week-long salute to military veterans. Throughout the week, the campus will pay tribute to its veterans in several ways including a dinner hosted by President Spectar and featuring retired Marine Corps Major General Tom Jones.
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by U.S.News & World Report as a “Best Baccalaureate College” (2010), by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College” (2010), and by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School.”