Pittsburgh, PA, May 6, 2008—Imagine in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh a lively urban park, lush green landscaping, state-of-the-art recreational facilities, youthful Downtown living, and a green-design-friendly theater. These student-centered neighborhood enhancements are part of Point Park University’s vision to become one of the most dynamic private, urban universities in America. Today, University officials announced the next step to realizing that vision with the Academic Village at Point Park University, a $210 million campus master space plan that heralds the rebirth of Downtown Pittsburgh’s Wood Street corridor and promises dynamic change for the University’s Downtown neighborhood.
“To meet the needs of a campus community projected to grow from 3,600 to 4,300
students, we are committed to creating a vibrant living, learning, and community hub,” said Paul Hennigan, president, Point Park University, “Our pledge to providing the best possible education for our students includes a promise to enhance the vitality of our neighborhood.”
As part of a six-year strategic plan and ongoing master space planning process, the Academic Village will transform the University’s campus academically, architecturally, economically, and culturally. “The Academic Village at Point Park University represents the confluence of our guiding principles of academic excellence, quality student experience, community engagement and managed growth,” said Hennigan.
The Academic Village at Point Park University is comprised of two elements: (1) the Student Center and Wood Street Corridor and (2) the new Pittsburgh Playhouse Development.
Student Center and Wood Street Corridor
The new Student Center, a green-design-friendly project on the Boulevard of the Allies between Wood and Smithfield Streets, will include a student center, gymnasium, student housing, and a park. In addition, Point Park will work with the City of Pittsburgh to transform the Boulevard of the Allies into a true boulevard, with landscaped center islands, specialized façade lighting, and new paving and sidewalks.
As a central artery, Wood Street connects the Point Park campus to the riverfront park at Fort Pitt Boulevard, the Fifth and Forbes area, and the Cultural Districts. Enhancements to the Wood Street corridor include the addition of trees, banners, façade lighting, trash receptacles, and paving to create a premier pedestrian throughway.
New Pittsburgh Playhouse Development
Having outgrown its home in Oakland, the Pittsburgh Playhouse will move Downtown to Forbes Avenue, providing Point Park students with state-of-the-art learning space and giving another star attraction adjoining the Cultural District. The development will include a 250-seat thrust theater, a 150-seat studio theater, and a 500-seat proscenium theater, as well as production and teaching areas and a residence hall. In addition, the development will include below grade parking.
The Academic Village at Point Park University represents a total investment of $210 million, which follows $60 million in capital improvements over the last decade. Since 1997, Point Park has renovated the University Center, Academic Hall, Lawrence Hall, and in fall 2007 opened the new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified Dance Complex. In addition, Point Park has added 160 beds in the Conestoga and Pioneer residence halls over the last two years and will add another 270 beds over the next two years.
The Academic Village initiative is part of a comprehensive master space plan that began in 2007. Point Park contracted with WTW Architects of Pittsburgh and Comprehensive Facility Planners, Inc., (CFP) of Columbus, Ohio, to develop the master space plan. WTW and CFP will make recommendations for locating student housing, recreational facilities, student center, academic and administrative spaces, gathering places for students, expanded dining, street-level retail opportunities, green space and additional key University facilities.
Construction on one of the two new residence halls is in progress on the Boulevard of the Allies. As work continues between Point Park and the City, specific timelines will be developed regarding the public realm amenities along the Boulevard of the Allies and the Wood Street corridor. The park at the corner of the Boulevard of the Allies and Wood Street is expected to get underway in late 2009 or early 2010. Point Park will begin renovation of the Student Center in 2010.
For more information about The Academic Village at Point Park University, go to www.pointpark.edu/academicvillage.