Shovel of dirt is to be thrown for labs

Rachel Logan, Copy Editor

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, a chemical engineering addition groundbreaking ceremony is to be one facet of the updated John P. Murtha Engineering and Science building’s grand opening.

Bostwick Design Partnership, of Cleveland, provided architecture design for the two-story, 7,000-square-foot building for chemical engineering labs and classrooms; however, construction company bids are not yet being accepted, according to Finance and Administration Vice President Amy Buxbaum.

In February, Buxbaum said, that the project has a $4 million budget: $3 for construction and $1 million for interior work.

The lab building is to be constructed next to the Engineering and Science building and across a pathway from the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center. Some vegetation was cleared from the area last Friday. The lab and main buildings are to be connected by a covered walkway.

“The total time between the start of the project design and construction is actually faster than normal for a project of this size and complexity,” Buxbaum said, despite a delay from the original Sept. 28 groundbreaking date.

Engineering and Computer Science Division chair Jerry Samples said he would participate in the ceremony.

“We’re going to throw a shovel of dirt in the air and say that’s a groundbreaking,” Samples said.

Samples said that about 60 students are enrolled in the chemical engineering program.

Some junior-level chemical engineering labs require that students attend labs at Pitt-Oakland. Others participate in remote simulated labs from a Pitt-Johnstown classroom.

“They put stuff in there and data comes out of the simulation,” he said.

The entire grand opening event is to include speakers and dedications.

The computer science department’s move to the engineering division is to be announced. The newly renovated engineering building is to be christened the John P. Murtha Engineering and Science building. Engineering alumnus Rich Reagan, who donated $211,000 to the Sports Center basketball court resurface project, is to speak.

The Paul Saylor auditorium is to be rededicated after last year’s renovation. Paul Saylor was Engineering and Science Division head before Samples’ 1994 start.

“(The event) is for outside people who have supported the division in the past,” Samples said.

“It’s for donors to come and see what’s going on.”