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University May Spend $300,000 To Renovate President’s Home

September 12, 1991

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A proposal to renovate the University of Pittsburgh’s presidential mansion at a cost of $300,000 has been submitted to the school’s trustees.

The proposal was to be discussed today by the trustees’ facilities management committee before consideration by the full board.

Trustees Chairman John C. Marous said the board decided to consider the renovations because ″we have an obligation to provide a home for the president and he should have a decent place in which to live.″

Pitt’s vice president for facilities management, L. Thomas Hussey, said President J. Dennis O’Connor asked him to prepare lists of work that needs to be done and work that should be done to preserve the 36-room brick structure.

″What we’re doing is laying it out,″ Hussey said. ″A proposal was requested by the board ... now it must decide how it wants to proceed.″

The university came under criticism for financial matters this summer when it was learned that former President Wesley W. Posvar was to receive a $3.3 million retirement package. Posvar, who retired July 31, lived in the house during his 24-year tenure at Pitt.

O’Connor had been in office less than one month when he, too, was criticized over spending. A student leader said the $82,000 renovation of the presidential office suite ″seems excessive.″

The proposal for work on the president’s house includes the renovation of the porch, installation of air conditioning, removal of asbestos and renovation of two bathrooms. Also on the list is interior decorating, including the refinishing of wood floors, painting, the purchase of new furniture and the replacement of draperies, wall and floor coverings.

″These kinds of renovations are generally done between administrations,″ said Pitt spokesman Tim Ziaukas. ″With the condition of some of these things, it seems most prudent to take care of this valuable property at this time.″

The house, built in 1897, was donated to the university in 1966. The following year, it was designated a historic landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

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