‘An extremely important project’: Pitt finishes cooling tower on new chilled water plant


Image via Pittwire

A crowd watches as the final section of the cooling tower for Pitt’s new chilled water plant was lifted into place on Nov. 8.

By Colm Slevin, Assistant News Editor

Pitt completed the final section of the cooling tower for its new chilled water plant earlier this month, which will contribute to keeping buildings cool on upper campus. 

Pitt anticipates completing the three-story 45,000-square-foot plant, located across from the Petersen Events Center, in December 2023. The building contains three chillers with a capacity of 7,500 tons of chilled water, and 7,500 tons more if three more chillers are added. There’s also a rainwater collection system allowing the reuse of rainwater within the plant, which saves money and reduces stormwater runoff according to a University press release.     

Pitt said in the press release that the plant will help provide cooling for developments on upper campus, including the nine-story Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and Victory Heights project. Chiller plants, which are typically used in medium and large buildings, act as centralized cooling systems for multiple buildings. 

Pitt said a new electrical substation and other infrastructure to support upper campus buildings are included in this project. It said in the press release that these developments will help it reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2037.

The University celebrated finishing the cooling tower with a “topping off” ceremony on Nov. 8. 

“This is an extremely important project for Pitt,” said Dave DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations. “We are building capacity to make our infrastructure more resilient on the campus hillside, providing foundational strength to support the University’s current and future needs.”