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Pitt-Greensburg structure earns Master Building Excellence honor

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Saturday, March 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The president of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg expressed pride and excitement on Saturday about a new building on her campus receiving a construction honor.

Frank A. Cassell Hall earned the 2012 Master Building Excellence Award for new construction less than $10 million during a presentation Thursday in the Heinz Field East Club.

“We're ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic,” Sharon Smith said. “We're so proud about the building and so grateful to the donors who made it happen.”

The Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania scores projects based on customer satisfaction, green techniques and methods, innovation, overcoming challenges, teamwork and craftsmanship, spokesman Jon O'Brien said.

A jury then tours projects and interviews the architect or owner, he added.

The two-story, 16,500-square-foot building was designed to have 30 percent annual energy savings and reduce water usage by 50 percent, university officials said.

The hall houses a computer lab for 80 students, a student lounge, faculty and staff offices, a computer classroom, a video-conferencing classroom and workspace and storage for media.

The building has a campus plaza that overlooks a stream and campus beyond and two green roofs that feed a rainwater harvesting cistern.

The cistern provides nondrinkable water to the building's toilets.

Campus officials tried to make Cassell fit in with other buildings while looking to the future in its design, Smith said.

Contractor Rycon Construction Inc. finished construction in August after starting work in March 2011. Forty Eight Architecture designed the building to occupy a steeply sloping hillside along the south bank of Slate Run.

A LEED designation for being environmentally friendly is pending and would be the first such certification on campus, Smith said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

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