United States Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Construction News

Full Steam Ahead - building better health care for our Nation's heroes.

The Consolidation Building at the University Drive Campus

Graphic icon of a camera. Click to view more pictures. Slideshow: View more pictures of the Consolidation Building's construction progress—from the site's groundbreaking ceremony in March 2009 to today.
An artist's rendering of the new consolidation building at the University Drive campus.

Seamlessly integrating primary care and behavioral health services

This building will join to the site’s existing facility at three points, via a ground-floor connection, first-floor lobby, and staff-only third-floor connection. 


The first floor will offer a full spectrum of behavioral health services seamlessly integrated with primary care.


This floor will house a chapel, audiology and speech pathology, medical media, a simulation training center and a flexible education space called a "Learning Exchange."


Each of these floors will have distinct day and night spaces with private inpatient behavioral health bedrooms in the night areas and multipurpose activity spaces in the day areas. Patients on these floors will also have access to three outdoor, rooftop terraces.

The move-in date for the 194,850-square-foot, $75.8 million building is set for winter 2011-2012.

Next month: a sneak peek at the Consolidation Building's audiology and speech pathology department.

5 Questions for the Woman behind the Consolidation Building

Joyce Johnson 

"I am just one person on a very large team."

- Joyce Johnson of her construction management role

Senior Resident Engineer Joyce L. Johnson

Q: What is your favorite part of the building?
"The third floor rooftop plazas. These two plazas are going to give patients an opportunity to connect with the outdoors and this connection promotes healing. It is calming to stand in the sunlight and breathe the fresh air."

Q: What is one thing about the building that people would be surprised to learn?
"That we are collecting the rainwater on the roof to be reused for the lawn irrigation system."

Q: What is one thing you fought hard to include in the building and why?
"The stained glass windows in the chapel. They were scheduled to be demolished. I cataloged them and coordinated the construction of their crates [for transportation to the stained glass restoration contractor]. They are vintage 1950s windows. I think it's important for history to carry over into the future generations. 

Q: Why will Veterans love this building?
"Because it’s new and it was built for them. A lot of effort from a lot of different people went into the planning, design and construction of this building. Veterans are the entire reason for this project. They are deserving of a new building, and I think they will appreciate everything that has been done for them."

Q: Describe this building in 2 words.
"Beautiful. The exterior is a beautiful combination of different materials that you might think  wouldn’t work together, and yet they come together beautifully. Efficient. The flow through the building for patients, visitors and staff will result in travel distances and travel times that are very direct and open. The efficiency of the mechanical systems and the building design will result in utility cost savings."

  Nailing down the details 
  • 1,100 glass panels installed
  • 860,000 square feet of drywall used
  • 28,000 cubic yards of dirt removed 
  • 250 estimated number of construction workers involved
  • 1,665 tons of structural steel used  
  • 6,000 gallons of paint—including the colors Heavy Cream, Almond Cream and French Gray Linen—used