Victory Heights is the major ongoing, on-campus construction project in Oakland right now, at least when it comes to Pitt athletics, but there is one project that many follow with fervent interest.
The idea of a 35,000-45,000-seat on-campus stadium somewhere in Oakland has been discussed at great length, and in an interview with the Tribune-Review’s Bill Schackner, new Pitt chancellor Joan Gabel said that she isn’t ready to fully assess the idea of an on-campus stadium considering her recent hiring.
But Gabel did tell Schackner that anything is possible.
“It’s a big change to bring that kind of traffic to a new location, whether it’s on campus or somewhere else in the city,” Gabel told Schackner. “But I am absolutely open to the exploration and to the evaluation.
“I think we’re due for master planning. And so, it’s probably time to certainly include that in the questions we would ask ourselves about the future of campus.”
The Petersen Events Center currently occupies the land where the old Pitt Stadium once stood, and with the continued Victory Heights construction, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2025, it’s a very congested area.
There isn’t a ton of currently usable space in Oakland, but there is an area that could soon be repurposed. Once the Victory Heights project is completed, it will leave the Fitzgerald Field House without a purpose.
“So, we’re gonna build an indoor track and band complex, and once that is built, we can vacate the Field House, and the university will determine really the best use,” Pitt director of athletics Heather Lyke said in April. “There hasn’t been anything definitive decided on that space, but it will become university property.”
Parking — and general space — in Oakland is a hot-button issue. And when it comes to parking lots and garages in Oakland, especially around the Petersen Events Center and Victory Heights, while Lyke said that nothing is untouchable, there are no definitive plans when it comes to utilizing parking space around the facilities.
“I would say nothing’s untouchable because we all reconfigure, you have to have a vision and you have to plan out — a lot of these events, students are coming to, they’re walking to, but we will keep those lots until we don’t need them,” Lyke said.
“Maybe the Field House turns into a parking garage, there’s opportunities — we have ideas around the spaces that are available. But I would say nothing is untouchable.”
And it doesn’t appear as if any sort of on-campus stadium will prioritized in the near future.