Campus Survey: The First Step to Updating Property Records

Survey crews will continue their work across campus through January, completing the first step in a process to update University property records.

Civil & Environmental Consulting Inc. is conducting a survey of all parcels on campus so that they can be consolidated to reflect their current use and align with Duquesne’s Master Plan, said Rod Dobish, executive director of facilities management. “We’re updating, based upon the footprints of the buildings now existing on campus,” Dobish said.

Just as regular computer maintenance updates software without most users being aware of the changes, the surveying process that has been occurring piecemeal over the past six years will proceed throughout campus. Records then will reflect the changes in city code that have occurred since 1882, the earliest of Duquesne’s days on the Bluff, providing an accurate foundation for the future.

For instance, property record changes were needed before the construction of Des Places residence hall. Although a building previously existed on that site, Des Places was positioned on a lot embedded inside another lot. These two lots needed to be consolidated before construction. Similarly, St. Ann’s was two separate lots before consolidation. Property maps show Fisher Hall and its parking lots as nine different parcels. After Bayer Learning Center was built in 1995-1996, the property map continued to reflect the original five lots of long-gone row houses and a hospital. (You can explore the 1910 property map online.)

The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are also updating their property records. “The advantage we have is that we started this earlier than other universities,” Dobish said. “We need to do it because it’s going to pay dividends in the long run for the University. All this work conforms with the existing Master Plan on file with the city.”

This campus-wide survey is the first step to establishing property lines that reflect existing campus structures, which have received street addresses as part of the updates. Over the next year, hearings, approvals and registrations will follow at the city and county levels.

“Some might find it interesting that we are working to clean up county property and real estate records that run back 130 years, tracing the development of our campus on the Bluff,” said Stephen Schillo, vice president for business and management.

For more information, contact Dobish at 412.396.4781.