The $3 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance and Capital Program brings the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford one step closer to building its new engineering and computer information technology building.
On Wednesday, Rep. Marty Causer, R-Turtlepoint, announced that the university had received $3 million in RACP funds, which will support the new $22 million engineering and information technology building.
“We are profoundly grateful to Marty for all of his help in securing these funds for our exciting new building,” said Dr. Catherine Koverola, Pitt-Bradford’s president. “Marty has been a steadfast supporter of Pitt-Bradford for many years, and we especially appreciate his help on this exciting new project.”
“This new building will be a headquarters of innovation on our campus,” Koverola said, “where students will work on highly specialized projects and collaborations, so they are well prepared for STEM-related careers in our region and beyond.”
Currently, the project is in the design phase. Pitt-Bradford officials anticipate breaking ground in 2021 for the new building, which will be built on the lawn of Hanley Library, parallel to West Washington Street and the Lester and Barbara Rice House residence hall built in 2014.
The two-story building will house many dedicated spaces, including a strength and materials lab, a fluid dynamics lab with a small hydro tunnel to test designs, a maker space with 3-D printing, and a virtual reality and augmented reality lab.
The building will be home to existing majors, energy science and technology, computer information systems and technology, and petroleum technology, as well as new majors, mechanical engineering technology and energy engineering technology.
“Without this new building to house our specialty equipment and labs,” said Matt Kropf, associate professor of petroleum technology, “we wouldn’t be able to offer these new engineering technology programs that are in demand for our students. And without these new majors, our region’s need for a locally trained and skilled workforce would continue to go unmet.”
For years, industry and manufacturing leaders in the region have struggled to fill vacant engineering and technology-related positions due to a lack of well-trained and well-prepared employees.
Chris Napoleon, a Pitt-Bradford alumnus and owner of Napoleon Engineering Services in Olean, N.Y., said, “Pitt-Bradford has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our local young engineering minds and support the employee needs of our manufacturing base.”
Koverola added, “Having this building will not only provide well-prepared graduates for regional industries and manufacturers but also keep these talented and creative young people in our region, which will help to energize and revitalize our communities.”
Having the new facility also will enable the university to develop new partnerships in the region.
In addition to providing an ideal learning environment for students, Kropf said, the facility will help “open up new opportunities for community partnerships, such as promoting new business ventures and enhancing the research and development abilities of local industries.”
Currently, the university is recruiting two new faculty members for the new engineering programs as well as two faculty members in the computer information systems and technology program, all to start in fall 2021.