Pittsburgh, Oct. 1, 2010 – Robert Morris University has signed an agreement today with Duquesne University for Duquesne to buy RMU’s classroom building at 600 Fifth Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh.
The sale of the building – known as the Pittsburgh Center – comes a month after RMU welcomed a record-setting 900 new freshman students to its main campus in Moon Township. RMU also saw a record of approximately 1,500 resident students this year, and a new residence hall is under construction to accommodate the university’s growth. The facility is set to open in the fall of 2011, along with a new building for the RMU School of Business.
“The sale of the Pittsburgh Center represents an important step in RMU’s transformation from a local business school to a comprehensive residential university that draws students from all over the United States and across the globe,” said RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo.
The Pittsburgh Center was RMU’s primary location for several years, but over time the focus of university life has shifted to the Moon campus – which opened in 1964 – where the majority of RMU undergraduate students now earn their degrees. Ninety percent of undergraduate students take classes at Moon, and half of the others take courses online. Among graduate students, 62 percent take their coursework at Moon, with only 18 percent taking courses downtown.
“This may be a bittersweet moment for many of our faculty and alumni, who have fond memories of the Pittsburgh Center. But the building is no longer adequate to our needs, and the money required to upgrade it is better invested in our Moon campus and our academic programs,” said Dell’Omo.
Proceeds of the sale of the building will help to fund the construction of a facility at the Moon campus for RMU’s Media Arts Program, which currently holds courses at the Pittsburgh Center for undergraduate students. That facility is slated to open in the fall of 2012. As part of the sales agreement, RMU Media Arts students will continue to take classes at the downtown building through the end of the 2011-12 academic year.
Currently, graduate business programs are offered at the Pittsburgh Center, as are master’s and bachelor’s programs in organizational studies and a bachelor’s program in professional communications and information systems (PCIS). The organizational studies and PCIS programs are aimed primarily at nontraditional students, who may also choose from any of RMU’s other degree programs.
With the sale of the Pittsburgh Center, RMU plans to step up services to nontraditional students, many of whom must balance their coursework with professional and family commitments. The university now offers eight wholly online degree programs, including four undergraduate degrees and four graduate degrees.
RMU will continue to offer courses for graduate and nontraditional students at satellite locations in the Pittsburgh region. The university is looking to lease space at locations that could include downtown Pittsburgh, Cranberry and Southpointe.
“We want to give our nontraditional students as many options as possible. Their lives demand flexibility to complete their degree,” said RMU Provost David Jamison. “Some adults want to take courses near their homes. Others prefer a location close to their workplace, and some need to be able to take courses online. We plan to give them those choices.”
In addition to its bachelor’s programs and MBA degree, RMU offers 19 other graduate programs, all of which are tailored for working professionals. These include programs in engineering, nursing, education and information systems. RMU offers doctoral programs in nursing, information systems and communications, and instructional leadership.