The $23 million project including the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness is currently under construction on the Johnstown campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The Murtha Center, a 7,400 square foot building, is one of three parts of the project. Renovations to the Engineering and Science Building and renovations to laboratories in Krebs Hall all designed by IKM Incorporated Architects comprise the other parts.
At the groundbreaking for the new facility, University of Pittsburgh Johnstown President Jem Spectar commented, “Congressman Murtha was an American hero and legislative giant whose work has had a transformational impact on the Johnstown community, the region, and the nation.”
The Murtha Center, designed by IKM Architects, will highlight the vital role John P. Murtha, a Pitt-Johnstown alumnus, played in House leadership and in various legislative issues during his career spanning more than three decades. The Center, which will preserve and extend the Murtha legacy, includes a large multipurpose room for event gatherings, exhibit space highlighting some of Congressman Murtha’s accomplishments, a military veterans’ lounge and offices for outreach to the PITT Johnstown student community and beyond. A memorial garden will also give tribute to the contributions of Mr. and Mrs. Murtha.
The University envisions a facility that will help promote understanding and inquiry into key local, regional, and national issues; advance public discourse and debate on policy issues while supporting related academic experiences at Pitt-Johnstown through collaboration with various academic divisions.
Mr. Murtha was not only an alumnus of the University, but was also the first-ever recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes individual achievements, professional leadership, community service, and loyalty to the alma mater. Mr. Murtha’s relationship with Pitt-Johnstown continued long after graduation. Murtha, who went to Pitt-Johnstown, served 36 years in the U.S. House until his death in 2010.
On the University’s approval of funds for the project, Art Ramicone, senior vice chancellor, chief financial officer, and interim executive vice chancellor said, “The Center will support campus strategic goals to support civic participation and greater engagement in the local and regional communities.” A $250,000 commitment from the Murtha Foundation to Pitt-Johnstown also funds the project.
The project’s design meets LEED certification standards for sustainability. Target completion date is late 2016.