Students will descend from upper campus with the new changes planned for the Petersen Events Center – literally.
Liza Broydo, a first-year neuroscience major and resident of Sutherland Hall, said she was thrilled to learn of Pitt’s decision to remove the Pete’s escalators and replace them with a giant slide.
“The great thing about a slide is that it will never be broken,” Broydo said. “Of course there might be some stacking down there, but overall I think it will be a positive change.”
In response to a barrage of complaints from students on Yik Yak about the inconsistency of Pete’s escalators, the University announced on Friday that it had decided to get rid of the escalators altogether and replace them with a giant slide. Pitt estimates that preparations, which include a bright yellow slide that can accommodate three people holding hands, will be complete by fall 2022. University officials estimate that it will take about 12 seconds to descend the slide, which will significantly reduce travel time for upper campus students.
Hannah Flanagan, a first-year nursing student, said she admired the original decision.
“Some people might say the obvious solution to all of this would be to invest enough money in infrastructure to make sure the escalators are reliable and accessible, but I think that’s boring,” Flanagan said. . “When my legs hurt from the gym, the last thing I want to see is a broken escalator. For some reason, going down a broken step is so much more humiliating than going down regular steps.
Some upper campus students said they appreciated the University’s response to their concerns. Sanjna Ramesh, a first-year emergency medicine major, said the slide improves her daily commute to lower campus.
“With all the construction going on outside of Sutherland, it’s good for the University to give us something to look forward to,” Ramesh said. “I mean, sure, the dorm is barely accessible and every day we have a new route to travel, but at least sliding on the Pete will save me a few minutes on my commute to class.”
Ramesh said the slide would be a good way to encourage prospective students to live at Sutherland Hall and current students to live at Panther or Irvis Halls.
“Some people might wonder why they would choose to live so far from all aspects of campus life, but now we have a slide,” Ramesh said. “When people ask me about shuttles and how long it takes to get to 8 a.m. classes, all I have to say is we now have a giant slide.”
Broydo said she looked forward to running with her friends in class.
“Shuttles can leave you stranded in the rain for 45 minutes and the walk to upper campus can exhaust you physically and mentally, but imagine how much fun it will be to race your friends down the giant slide,” Broydo said. “Really, we are the winners here.”
Ramesh said she doesn’t know what the University will do to accommodate students due to return to Sutherland, but she hopes it’s something as fun as the slide.
“Like most things on campus, I guess we’ll deal with it when we get there,” Ramesh said. “The building plan around the Pete has apparently been to figure it out day by day, but I’ve heard rumors that a climbing wall will be put up to climb.”
Flanagan said she hopes the University will install a climbing wall for the escalator going up into the Pete.
“The escalator going up isn’t reliable anyway, so it’ll be nice to know what I’m walking in every time I go to the Pete’s,” Flanagan said. “Also, everyone is usually angry after going up the hill. The climbing wall will be a great way to let off steam.
However, Ramesh is concerned about accessing Chick-fil-A inside the Pete.
“Will there be a break on the slide to get to Chick-fil-A?” Ramesh asked. “I can deal with construction adding 10 minutes to my walk and even a broken escalator, but I draw the line at Chick-fil-A being inaccessible.”
Broydo said the change is a sign that the University administration is listening to student concerns and using innovative ideas to improve campus life.
“They heard we were upset about something and went out of their way to change it,” Broydo said. “Pitt is such a great school for STEM students, and I think we really need to see more of that kind of creativity in the future. I really admire the level of care they give us, even if my first thought would have been to just fix the escalators.