New STEM Building Construction Gets Underway at Pitt-Bradford

By Eric Althoff

BRADFORD, Pa.—The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford campus (also known as Pitt-Bradford) recently broke ground on the 39,000-square-foot Engineering & Information Technologies Building, which will be devoted to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. The STEM building is the first new academic building at the Bradford campus in 20 years.

The new standalone facility will be home to departments in mechanical engineering technology, energy engineering technology, computer information technology and energy sciences. The building will also feature engineering labs and shops, a data center, classrooms, faculty offices as well as educational and staff support spaces.

Architecture and engineering firm HED designed the new building and is working with architect of record and construction administrator LGA Partners. Rycon Construction, which has several offices in and around Pittsburgh, will serve as general contractor.

The designers’ master plan ensures that building elements open out toward a two-story collaborative center so as to increase team building, interpersonal interactions and allow for greater visibility. Furthermore, this centralized common area fosters a team-based learning model that school administrators have felt has been missing from the Brandford campus. The new quad features a faculty office area that effectively floats above a glass-encased first floor area.

Energy efficiency was taken into account as the designers incorporated glass to allow in maximum natural light.

“This is a really exciting development for Pitt-Bradford,” Rick Esch, interim president of the campus, said in a recent statement. “It is the first academic building that the campus has built in two decades, and it’s going to provide a state-of-the-art home for our computer information systems and technology program, energy science and technology students, and two new engineering technology programs.”

HED principal Chris Vogelheim said that collaborating on a project like this brings the various principles to previously unforeseen conclusions as they work out the logistical issues.

“The close collaboration between the owner and the design team enabled the creation of a building that will transform the campus,” Vogelheim said. “This is a signature building with a big mission to positively impact the region’s economic development through creating an inspirational place for engineering on this campus.”

The $17.69 million project is scheduled to finish construction late next year.

Pitt-Bradford was founded in 1963 and offers over 40 majors and 50 minors and certifications. The campus sits on 470 acres about 150 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

“This is a signature building with a mission to positively impact the region’s economic development,” added Vogelheim.