John P. Murtha Center for Public Service Project Approved, Work Begins

Mike Morlacci

posted October 14, 2015


Renditions show the proposed entry to the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness (above), and the Engineering and Science Building (below).

The construction and renovation of the $23 million John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness has begun at Pitt-Johnstown.

Murtha Center

The Property and Facilities Committee of the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees approved it among other projects, according to a Sept. 28, 2015, story on Pitt’s news website.

The project consists of three parts:

  • Construction of a new, 7,400-square-foot building which will be called the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service;
  • Infrastructure and exterior renovations to the Engineering and Science Building, which will be known as the John P. Murtha Engineering and Science Building; and
  • Renovations to laboratories in Krebs Hall.

The project is also funded through a $250,000 commitment from the Murtha Foundation to Pitt-Johnstown.

“The Murtha Center will provide a much-needed multipurpose space on campus that is capable of hosting workshops; academic symposia; student assemblies; public debate; and discussion and inquiry into key local, regional, and national issues,” said Art Ramicone, senior vice chancellor, chief financial officer, and interim executive vice chancellor.

“The center will support campus strategic goals to support civic participation and greater engagement in the local and regional communities.”

It is expected that the projects will be built to LEED Silver certification standards.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Murtha Center took place on Sept. 26, 2014, on the Pitt-Johnstown campus. The project is targeted for completion in late 2016.

In announcing the project, Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar said at that time: “This is a tremendous privilege and we are extremely grateful to Mrs. Murtha and the Foundation on being chosen to honor and sustain the legacy of our great Congressman.

“Congressman Murtha was an American hero and legislative giant whose work has had a transformational impact on the Johnstown community, the region, and the nation. Mr. Murtha is an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and, along with his wife, never wavered in a commitment to the growth and vitality of the Johnstown area.”

Murtha, who went to Pitt-Johnstown, served 36 years in the U.S. House until his death in 2010.

Engineering and Science redesign


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been presented with The Seven Seals Award by the US Department of Defense’s office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World. The distinctive combination of our people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success.