The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 1, 2009

UPJ plans Wellness Center

JOHNSTOWN — A multipurpose gym, running track, fitness center and climbing wall are among the amenities planned for the latest addition to Pitt-Johnstown’s campus.

Administrators at the Richland Township campus are scheduled to break ground Nov. 10 for a $9.7 million Wellness Center. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2011.

At 40,000 square feet, the structure “will provide our students with much-needed fitness and recreational space and will help to advance our efforts to create a healthier campus,” UPJ President Jem Spectar said in a statement issued Friday.

Plans for a Wellness Center first were disclosed in 2007, when University of Pittsburgh leaders unveiled a 12-year-plan for the school’s main campus and its four branch campuses.

On Friday, a committee of the university’s board of trustees gave the go-ahead for the center’s construction.

The new building will be linked to UPJ’s Sports Center, which dates to the late 1970s, and the adjoining Zamias Aquatic Center, which was dedicated in 1990.

“The current facilities are limited and over capacity, given the demands posed by intercollegiate athletics, educational instruction and intramural activity,” Jerome Cochran, the university’s executive vice chancellor, said in a statement.

“The new facility also will be important for the Johnstown campus to satisfy the needs of its current resident students and achieve its enrollment targets.”

Administrators said they expect the center to include a three-lane, elevated running track; an indoor climbing wall; two courts for basketball and volleyball; equipment for cardiovascular and strength training; and space for dance, exercise and classrooms.

An “outdoor wellness park” also is planned.

The Wellness Center was the most expensive of three projects approved Friday by the university.

Also given a green light was a $5.4 million, 30,300-square-foot residence hall at the university’s Bradford campus and a $1.4 million land purchase in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, where administrators hope to add undergraduate student apartments for their main campus.

The new Wellness Center will be the 36th building on the 655-acre UPJ campus. During the past 15 years, other additions have included:

• Willow Hall, a $4.9 million student residence completed in 2005.

• Blackington Hall, a $7.5 million classroom and administrative building dedicated in 1997.

• The $18 million Living/Learning Center, which was finished in late 1994.

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