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A year after unveiling the Academic Village at Point Park University, a $244 million campus and public enhancement space plan that will transform the University and Downtown Pittsburgh, Point Park University announced several significant advances toward making the initiative a reality.

Thanks to a $2 million grant from The Heinz Endowments, Point Park has hired the following

• TKA Associates and Klavon Design to produce designs for the urban park that will be
located at the corner of Wood Street and Boulevard of the Allies
• GAI Consultants to produce the design of the streetscape enhancements along the
Wood Street corridor
• Point Park's first-ever campus architect/planner, Elmer Burger, to oversee all aspects of
the Academic Village Initiative

In addition, Point Park released the Economic Impact of the Construction of the Academic
Village, a study conducted by the Pennsylvania Economy League.

"The past year has been one of significant progress on the Academic Village at Point Park University," said Paul Hennigan, president, Point Park University. "We have made $30 million in investments to campus facilities, secured widespread support from the community, and are developing plans to break ground on the urban park this year."

TKA Associates and Klavon Design, both Pittsburgh-based architectural firms, have been engaged to develop plans for the urban park. Preliminary concepts include a variety of trees and a water feature. Final designs will be completed over the summer. The University hopes to break ground on the urban park in fall 2009.

GAI Consultants, a Homestead-based engineering construction firm, has been retained to design the streetscape improvements that will extend from Fort Pitt Boulevard to Third Avenue and includes new trees, street lighting, pavement, new crosswalks and new sidewalks.

"The strides that Point Park has made in the last year and the leadership position they are in today - poised to move this exciting project even further ahead- are examples of the kind of stimulus and partnerships we need to invigorate Downtown," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

In addition to announcing the architects for the park, Point Park released the Economic Impact of the Construction of the Academic Village, a study conducted by the Pennsylvania Economy League. The report measures direct, indirect and induced economic output, as well as jobs and compensation created by the Academic Village Initiative. Key conclusions include:

• Point Park University is a growing force in the Pittsburgh region and can contribute to the vibrancy of Downtown Pittsburgh.
• The Academic Village will continue this growth with an investment of $244 million in Point Park University's Downtown Pittsburgh campus.
• The Academic Village will be an important contributor to the local economy. Through spending on design and construction, the project will add close to $280 million in total value to the economy.
• The project will generate 3,700 full- and part-time jobs through direct spending, and indirect and induced ripple effects in the local economy.

"On behalf of the Pennsylvania Economy League, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, we are pleased to have played a part in this project that will contribute to the increasing vibrancy of Downtown Pittsburgh and the economic health of our region," said Dennis Yablonsky, chief executive officer, Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

To access the Pennsylvania Economy League's complete economic impact report, go to

Other Academic Village points of progress over the past year include:

• $6 million renovation of the Boulevard Apartments, loft-style housing for upperclassmen
• $5 million renovation of Lawrence Hall lobby, including the creation of new gallery space and the illumination of the Lawrence Hall façade, thanks to a grant from Duquesne Light
• $5 million renovation of West Penn Building to create new classrooms, academic space
• Secured a $1.5 million anonymous donation to support the construction of the urban park
• Secured commitment of support from key local legislators who recognize the importance of the Academic Village Initiative and the impact it will have on Downtown Pittsburgh; legislators include: Sen. Wayne Fontana, Sen. Jay Costa, Rep. Jake Wheatley, Rep. Paul Costa, Rep. Dan Frankel

For more information about The Academic Village at Point Park University, go to