Alumni fundraising for Log Cabin renovation

Vivian Chen Liyi, Staff Writer

Pitt-Johnstown Student Government and its Alumni Association are working on a Log Cabin renovation.

“The Log Cabin at Pitt-Johnstown was once the center of campus life, serving as the venue for concerts, meetings and parties,” said Robert Knipple, Pitt-Johnstown associate vice president for alumni and community relations.

“The Log Cabin perfectly captures our campus’ pristine wooded setting.

“The Log Cabin opened in 1972 and was built entirely by students and employees. The walls of the Log Cabin are constructed from telephone poles donated by the Pennsylvania Electric Co.” said Knipple.

Jeff Philibin, Alumni Association president, recalled the Log Cabin’s former glory.

“This was the social place, there was lighting and sound, DJ, performers.”

Philibin said building codes have changed and renovation is necessary to meet the requirements.

Knipple said the renovation is to include upgrades of electrical service, the heating system and the kitchen. The renovation also is to include a new roof.

Also, a wood fireplace may be converted to a  gas fireplace for safety.  An accessibility walkway, and a  fence also are in plans.

According to Philibin and Knipple, the plan is ready, but the schedule depends on fundraising.

Philibin said the plan is to be done in three phases.

The first phase, Building Addition w/Accessibility Improvements, costs $165,350 and includes building a bathroom added to the building, a new roof and plumbing and electrical work.

The second phase, Site Related Work with Accessibility Improvements, costs $75,000 and includes a walkway and an outdoor fireplace.

The third phase, Building Related Work Improvements, costs $71,500 includes a heating system and emergency lighting.

“Once we get the first phase done, we can use the building. Once we get the second phase done, people can access better and we have some nicer things like the fireplace, and the third phase, it will be very comfortable.” said Philibin.

Knipple said there is no established timeline for the renovation completion yet.

“Probably a year for fundraising and then we can start working on the contract, depending on what level we are at,” said Knipple.

Philibin said most of funds will come from the Alumni Association.

“We got some alumni did pretty good in their lives. I know it’s a lot of money, but they have that kind of ability.  Once we get the students’ group ready, we will pitch the whole group.”

Philibin said it is good for students to get involved.

“Even if it’s not the money, it is being part of it.”

He also said he wanted to start with the student groups because  the alumni can get inspired if they know the students are working on the project and willing to offer help.

Cliff Maloney, Pitt Johnstown Student Government Association president, said 21 student organizations have signed up for the fundraising.

Matt Grimes of Pitt-Johnstown Blue and Gold Society said an event was held Feb. 13 to raise money for the Log Cabin.

“All you had to do was eat at Hoss’s, present a coupon and 20 percent of the money made from the check was donated to Blue and Gold,” said Grimes.

“Everything we made went to the log cabin and I anticipate that all future fundraisers by Blue and Gold will be in an effort to raise money for the Log Cabin.”

Grimes also said an event also is being planned at Richland Lanes. It is to last for two hours with 50 percent of the profit to go for the Log Cabin.

Knipple said progress will follow the same process as other construction.

“We will come up with a plan with what needs to be done, and then the Facility Management Department of the  Pittsburgh Campus would issue and request bids and they will work out the contract.

“The construction would not be done by our own people.  It will be  done by contracts we submit to meet university requirements,” said Knipple.

Knipple said Alumni Association members are excited about the project.

“This will be a very exciting project because it will be the first time that the students and alumni have worked together on a project of this magnitude.

“This really has the potential of making a permanent impact on Pitt-Johnstown.” said Knipple.

Philbin said the renovation will challenge association members.

“I want this to be our legacy, and the other part is, it is stretching us to do something bigger than we normally do.”