Cabin more accessible by next fall

The Humanities Division hosted a barbecue at Oct 13. in the Log Cabin.

Natasha Bazika

The Humanities Division hosted a barbecue at Oct 13. in the Log Cabin.

Rachel Logan, News Editor

The Log Cabin is to be updated over the summer according to a deal made between Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar and the Alumni Association Aug. 13.

According to Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association President Gladys Go, changes to the Log Cabin were proposed six years ago by then-Association President Jeff Philibin to add the word “Alumni” to the cabin’s name.

According to Finance and Administration Vice President Amy Buxbaum, the cabin is to be made more accessible and more inviting for both campus and community events.

Buxbaum said the cabin was originally built in the early ‘70s and currently has multiple deficiencies.

“It doesn’t have a (handicapped)-accessible entrance, and the restrooms are not (handicapped)-accessible,” she said.

She noted that because of these breaches of code, the cabin may not be used for public events.

“We are in the midst of working toward improvements that would allow it to be used by the beginning of next (academic) year,” she said.

Restrooms are to be added onto one face of the cabin where the current main entrance is, and the primary entrance is to be moved around the back. There also is to be an outdoor patio with a fireplace and chimney.

The path to the cabin is too steep to be considered handicapped-accessible, so possible plans include a winding path with switchbacks to decrease the slope grade.

The plan also includes auxiliary fixes to the existing cabin space, but the bulk of the original hearth room is to remain unchanged.

“That’s what the log cabin is, and we’re not looking to change that,” she said.

Next year is to be the 90th anniversary of the University of Pittsburgh and the 50th anniversary of the Pitt-Johnstown campus.

According to Buxbaum, plans to renovate the cabin and remedy possible accessibility problems originated in 2002, but they were never completed.

Construction will occur over the summer.

The project is to cost around $400,000, but the project has yet to be bid on by prospective contractors.

Go said Spectar supported the idea. The association was asked to raise $500,000 for the campus’s scholarship fund in exchange for the university administration covering the remaining cabin renovation costs.

The association had already raised $60,000 to be put toward the log cabin update.

The association already funds the Biddle, Achievement and Legacy scholarships.

Go said the association has already begun raising money for the scholarship fund.

The association hosted an Alumni Gala on Oct. 1 where a silent auction raised around $7,500, according to Go. Other similar events are in the works.

“Any group, on or off campus, (could) use it to hold meetings, events, parties, weddings, etc. Before Whalley Chapel was built, weddings were conducted in the Log Cabin.”

There is a page on the Pitt-Johnstown website where students and alumni can pledge support to the project, dubbed “Save the Log Cabin.”

The site encourages current alumni to help open the cabin so that students may enjoy the same types of events that were held in the past.

“It’s the shared icon of our lives and is forever part of our Pitt-Johnstown experience,” it reads.

There is to be an event next September to commemorate the cabin and the campus.