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Pitt Displays a New View of the Arena and Sports Performing Center



Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke.

Pitt Athletics showed a new view of the Arena and Sports Performing Center Monday and their plan to achieve that in a meeting Monday.

The meeting involved a joint Development Activities Meeting of Oakland Planning & Development Corp. and the Oakland Business Improvement District and it included how the building will fit into the current landscape. The University started construction for the arena in the past year on the former Petersen Events Center lawn. The complex will sit in-between the Petersen Events Center and Panther Hall, a Pitt student housing building.

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The Arena and Sports Performing Center is replacing the functions of the Fitzgerald Field House. It will incorporate the gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling programs and host their practices and matches. It also will include the cheer and dance program as well as a sports performing facility that Pitt students will use.

The building is a part of the Victory Heights Plan,started by Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke that looks to upgrade the facilities for Pitt athletics across the Oakland campus. This includes a third floor addition to the Petersen Events Complex, a new track and field and marching band facility and a new campus recreational center for students.

Chuck Alcorn is a planner with University of Pittsburgh and presented the project to the meeting over zoom. He said that the building is smaller than what Pitt originally planned for. This includes size of the building, as it is 240,000 square feet and not 300,000 feet, as well as in height, with it being 38 feet high instead of 75 feet high.

Crucially, the arena will be smaller in attendance capacity than originally intended. Original figures for capacity started at 3,500, but Alcorn revealed that it is now 2,500, 1,000 less than planned. The Fitzgerald Field House’s current capacity is at 4,100.

While the smaller capacity might be to the chagrin of Pitt fans who think that it should be larger to accommodate the rising popularity of the volleyball program, the Petersen Events Center next door should provide space if needed for events whose interest greatly exceeds the capacity of the arena.

Other aspects that Alcorn showed to the meeting was a window curtain wall that will face the Petersen Events Center. Also, the roof of the arena will include a green roof, that students and the public can use. The green roof replaces the lawn and also gives those that access it fantastic views of Pitt’s campus and the Oakland area.

Mark Barnett, who is the project manager of the arena for the university, said that construction of the arena starts soon, with site excavation beginning at the end of this year. Pitt wants to complete this project by 2025, with those listed programs beginning competition starting in the 2025-26 academic calendar year.

The costs for the arena also are much higher than originally thought, as Pitt announced that just the Arena and Sports Performing Center will cost somewhat more than $200 million. The original plans for the entire Victory Heights Plan looked to cost $250 million in total.



Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

So, PITT is spending $200M on a building that will functionally serve the same purposes and seat 1600 people less? Interesting.

John Wad
John Wad
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

Makes no sense but Pitt F up most things the AD does over its history

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