Skibo Gymnasium renovations

In the fall of 2019, Carnegie Mellon University received a $35 million grant from Highmark Health, a not-for-profit Pittsburgh-based insurer and healthcare provider. This amount was gifted to assist in the funding of a transformative initiative involving the construction of a new wellness and athletics center geared towards improving the health and wellbeing of Carnegie Mellon students.

As The Tartan reported then, the proposed 160,000 square foot facility would expand on Skibo Gymnasium on the corner of Frew Street and Tech Street. The plan, which involved the deconstruction of most of the Skibo center save Skibo Gym itself, would see Carnegie Mellon working with an architecture firm to design a building stretching to the sidewalk of the intersection between Margaret Morrison Street and Tech Street.

In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times, Bob Reppe, Carnegie Mellon’s senior director of planning and design, stated that the university intends to do “some renovation of the existing historic structure, some demolition of the parts of it that don't work so well, and new construction in that we'll ultimately introduce a new health and wellness center.” The center would include a new space for Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS), as well as providing a “new, upgraded performance gymnasium for our basketball and volleyball teams and a new home for the athletic departments as well.”

These renovations, which comes on the heels of the opening of Tepper Quad back in 2018, are the next big step in the university’s 10-year plan to improve students' health and quality of life while fueling campus growth. The vision is to utilize “thoughtful planning and exemplary architecture, urban design and landscape management” in order to create “a vibrant environment that enables [Carnegie Mellon] faculty, students, alumni, and staff to advance the university’s vision and mission.”

According to Reppe, who plans to schedule a design activities meeting on the project within the next month, the development of the new space may occur under a faster time frame than originally mapped out. This no doubt comes as welcome news to athletes and the campus community as a whole, with the new center representing a culmination of the wellness-focused programs fostered and advanced over the last couple of years.