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Students with a community partner with prosthetic limbs

Second-year DPT Hybrid students working with a community educator to learn about amputations and prosthetics. 


“Having the new Box space as a dedicated facility makes everything much simpler, and that translates into a better educational experience. The warm and convenient environment is a significant upgrade over having labs at the convention center which had a somewhat industrial feel.”  

-Michael Lebec, professor 

From Steel Mill and Art Deco Cinema to the Home of Pitt Hybrid DPT 

While being industrial is in Pittsburgh’s DNA, so is progress and innovation! The Pitt Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Hybrid program is now headquartered in the newly renovated Box Office building on Pittsburgh’s Southside, right across the river from the Department of Physical Therapy’s offices and classrooms at Bridgeside Point.

“The Box gives students a permanent place to call home when they are on campus for immersions. We want students to feel welcome in our spaces regardless of what option they are enrolled in. The new space is large enough for us to host combined events for both residential and hybrid students, thus providing for greater connections within our Pitt PT family.” 

-Kara L. Kobal, DPT Residential program director and associate professor  

Back in the early 1990s, this plot of land was still anchored by one of Pittsburgh’s vast, industrial steel mill complexes. The Hot Metal Bridge that now connects “the Box” to Bridgeside Point was not always a span frequented by cars, pedestrians and bicycles. During the steel boom, it moved crucibles of hot molten steel from the blast furnaces on one side of the river near what is now Bridgeside Point to the steel mill’s open hearth furnaces where the Box now stands. The bridge is now a stunning piece of engineering shared by all with one of the best views of the city! 

This is the view from the Hot Metal Bridge circa 1993 looking at the steel mill complex that has been developed into the SouthSide Works. 

Photo from Library of Congress

In the foreground below is the parcel of dirt now occupied by Bridgeside Point, home to the Department of Physical Therapy and its DPT, MS and PhD programs. The Hot Metal Bridge is to the left and the steel mill plant across the river is now the SouthSide Works. 

Photo from Library of Congress.

Bridgeside Point today. 

More recently, the Pitt DPT immersion space was the SouthSide Works Cinema, a popular 10-screen theater with Art Deco-inspired architecture that was open from 2004 to 2020. The building’s exterior has been preserved, making it one of Pitt’s more unique facilities.

Outside the SouthSide Works

  Photo from Cinema Treasures. 

The former cinema’s second floor that once greeted movie buffs is now home to Pitt DPT Hybrid students and faculty.  

Photo from Cinema Treasures.

Glass view into lab space from top of stairs

The grand staircase to the second floor also doubles as a popular place to study. 

students with laptops on stair platforms

Another thing we all loved was the foyer. It's so cozy and great to relax and have a good time with friends!  

- Elena Luna Espinoza, DPT ‘24 

They used to show Star Wars and Frozen here, but now it’s been replaced by manual therapy skills, neurologic exams and a broad array of topics that equip Pitt DPT students with the requisite knowledge to be exemplar physical therapists who deliver exceptional patient care. 

cinema entrances

Photo from Cinema Treasures.

“The Box is a gorgeous space with a fun, bright, open concept that makes anyone feel special and lucky to be there. It provides us with a unique sense of belonging, and that's important for the hundreds of students who, like me, come from all over the country and call Pitt home for the days we stay there!”  

- Elena Luna Espinoza, DPT ‘24  

students sitting around an exam table with an instructor

DPT hybrid students and faculty getting to know each other during orientation. 

“It’s our home away from home. Something I believe we, as hybrid students, are able to call ours.”  

- Tamoya Brown, DPT ‘24 

students posing for a photo with a community partner with a prosthetic leg

Second-year students working with a community educator to learn about amputations and prosthetics. 


Did you take our virtual tour of the new DPT Hybrid immersion space? Be sure to read the companion blog for all the photos of the Box plus more student and faculty impressions! 

Learn more about the Pitt DPT Hybrid program on our website or contact an enrollment specialist at today!