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At the Library

Having worked at Hillman, I can add some perspective to this. The PG is missing a couple of facts that may have some relevance to the matter at hand:

1) Hillman Library is not owned by the University of Pittsburgh; it is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
2) The building itself was a donation, paid for largely by money from the Hillman family and the Hillman Foundation.

When the Hillman interests funded construction of a new library building back in 1967, neither they nor the University wanted to claim ownership of the building. No idea why. Some sort of deal was worked out which involved Pennsylvania stepping in and claiming ownership of the new structure. As a result, any major renovation project requires the approval of the legislature in Harrisburg, years in advance of any work actually getting started. It is the worst sort of bureaucratic arrangement for getting anything done. Plans for renovations were in the works ten years ago and nothing has been done except on an as-needed basis. By the time the big renovation does start, it will make too much sense not to build a new library, as the PG editorial demands.

So you should also ask, in addition to your already stated questions, Why is Pitt still unwilling to own its main library's property? Is Pitt afraid of damaging its special relationship with the Commonwealth of PA? Is it locked into a long-term lease agreement? That is a possibility; I honestly don't know. Whatever the current arrangement, Pitt needs to get out of it and assume proprietorship of the library.

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