Carnegie Mellon building expansions

Credit: Wilson Ekern/Copy Manager Credit: Wilson Ekern/Copy Manager

While most undergraduate students are gone over the summer, Carnegie Mellon’s Division of Operations get a chance to renovate, construct, and expand. This summer has been no different. Ralph Horgan, Associate Vice President of Carnegie Mellon’s Campus Design and Facility Development (CDFD), says they’re “racing to the finish” to get a variety of operations done before this semester begins.

Two of the most notable changes to campus will be the newly built ANSYS Hall and the ongoing construction of TCS Hall. The 36,000 square foot ANSYS Hall sits between Scaife and Porter Hall, and will serve the College of Engineering.

TCS Hall, across Forbes Avenue from the Integrated Innovation Institute, will house new facilities for the School of Computer Science, with space for the Institute for Software Research, the Human Computer Interaction Institute, and the computational finance program. Horgan says the top floor will also serve as a “collaborative space.” They’re hoping construction on the building will be done by the Spring of 2020.

Carnegie Mellon is also currently branching into other areas of Pittsburgh real estate. This past July, Mill 19—a former steel mill-turned research and development center—opened in Hazelwood Green, about 2 miles south of campus.

The 190,000 square foot Mill 19 facility is home to a partnership with the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing group, a not-for-profit seeking to address “workforce development issues,” according to the partnership’s announcement. It will also house the College of Engineering’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative. Horgan says the space is large, “kind of like the National Robotics and Engineering Center,” and features a ten-ton crane.

Another expansion beyond our original campus came last year when Carnegie Mellon purchased Fifth Neville Apartments, an acquisition that displaced then-tenants of the building. Horgan says they’re now working to renovate that building, bringing it up to Americans with Disabilities Act code, addressing safety concerns, installing Carnegie Mellon wireless interent, renovating flooring, and providing aesthetic upgrades. He says the new Carnegie Mellon housing option will be open one year from now.

The Melwood Avenue acquisition last year, which will be a new space for the College of Fine Arts and the Miller Institute, is not “not fully fleshed out” as of yet, Horgan says.

On campus, projects have included both housing and academic building renovations. A 4-year plan to modernize all classrooms is now well underway, with 60 classrooms renovated of the 80 planned. Horgan says that “President Farnam really pushed the classroom initiative”. CDFD wanted five years to do the work, but Farnam insisted on completing the 20-million-dollar project in four years.

Horgan says these classroom redesigns have been “very sophisticated and research-based” thanks to years of study by the Simon Initiative, a research branch dedicated to education. CDFD also worked with faculty committees, an audio/visual team, and Carnegie Mellon Facilities Management Services to get make progress on the classroom project.

Horgan says CDFD undertook a “smattering of things” this summer in addition to the above projects, many of which will be ready for the semester’s beginning.

Warner Hall, where Carnegie Mellon administration are housed, began serious renovations last year that wrapped up in June. Floors 3-6 of the building were completely redone, including the President's office.

A new engineering makerspace in Hamerschlag Hall is “finally getting finished,” Horgan said.

Morewood Gardens wrapped up its third summer of construction. Work on the building is expected to last a total of four years. New bathrooms and plumbing with chilled water and air conditioning are among the improvements. When asked whether this would be a new standard for on-campus housing, Horgan said that not all dorms will see a similar renovation but all new buildings would have these amenities.

In a move that could draw much attention, CDFD and Carnegie Mellon Dining are “getting very creative rethinking the dining room experience” in Schatz Dining Room, a student space beloved with a tinge of irony. Slated for completion in October, Horgan says the space could be similar to the renovations in the Morewood Underground.