Construction rolling along at UPMC Lemieux complex
Eagle Staff Writer
April 23, 2014
CRANBERRY TWP — Construction crews tasked with building the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex only got a building permit a month ago, but they’ve already constructed 60 percent of the steel skeleton of one of two ice rinks. Representatives from both UPMC and the Pittsburgh Penguins were at the site Thursday afternoon inspecting the progress there. They said the facility is on track to open in the summer of 2015. The $70-million sports performance and medical complex is a joint venture between the two entities. At the intersection of Interstate 79 and Route 228, the 180,000-square-foot complex will have two ice rinks for both the Penguins and for public use in addition to a medical complex run by UPMC. The only visible structure at the site now is one of the two ice rinks. UPMC spokesman Chuck Finder said Thursday that about 60 percent of the steel skeleton is erected, while the second ice rink will be built to the north of the existing one. The construction site otherwise resembled any other project, complete with mounds of dirt surrounded by a bevy of construction trailers. Finder said Thursday will likely be the last time anyone is invited to view the structure until it is ready to open. Vonda Wright, who will be the medical director of the facility, spoke briefly at the site and said she can’t wait for the building to open. Officials from both entities traveled the United States before drawing up plans for the sports complex, she said, and what they found was surprising. “There’s nothing else that exists quite like this,” she said. Rich Hixon, the executive director of strategic planning for the Pittsburgh Penguins, praised the facility’s “tremendous location” in Cranberry Township. “This is going to be a great asset for the community recreationally, but we hope it spurs development in the whole region,” Hixon said. Finder said construction crews hope to finish installing the heat and electrical systems in the facility before winter, which would allow crews to work through the cold months. The construction workers at the facility aren’t the only ones altering the landscape at the site. Crews with the state’s Department of Transportation are putting the finishing touches on new off-ramps that will take motorists traveling west on Route 228 on to northbound Interstate 79. That construction is taking place right over the border from the UPMC Lemieux complex.