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Children's Hospital eyes expansion of pediatric services in $20.5M South Fayette facility

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 1:35 p.m.
In April, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh plans to break ground on a 60,000-square-foot, four-story facility in South Fayette. Children’s Hospital is building the facility on Hickory Grade Road in order to consolidate into one building the pediatric services that now are being offered in several buildings in Bethel Park. The $20.5 million project in South Fayette also will allow Children’s Hospital to expand its pediatric services.

Children's Hospital's planned facility in South Fayette would take six months longer and cost $2 million more to build than planned, but the finished product still would be a key component in economic development in the Interstate 79 and Route 50 corridors, officials said.

By October 2014, Children's hopes to have opened the $20.5 million facility, which would expand and centralize services now in Bethel Park, said Mark O'Hern, executive director of ambulatory services and business development for Children's.

“We're excited to be working with South Fayette township and expanding our pediatric presence in the south, and we look forward to developing relationships with the community,” he said.

The changes in cost and timeline were because planning took longer than anticipated and costs of site preparation increased, he said.

Lawrenceville-based Children's Hospital of UPMC plans to move pediatric services now at two sites in Bethel Park to one building in South Fayette, where it will construct a four-story building called Children's South, O'Hern said.

“We ran out of space at the Bethel Park site. ... We serve our patients better by having one large building with the ability to grow and continue to expand our services,” he said.

In March, UPMC won bidding on 2.6 acres of South Fayette-owned property next to the former Star City Cinema at 100 Hickory Grade Road.

UPMC is a tax-exempt nonprofit, but its bid of $1.65 million guaranteed that it will pay 50 percent of the development's taxes.

On Dec. 6, the South Fayette Planning Commission recommended township commissioners approve Children's Hospital's site plan, township engineer Michael Benton said. The commissioners were scheduled to vote Wednesday.

The hospital provides physical, occupational and speech therapies for children in space it leases at 1500 Oxford Drive in Bethel Park. It provides occupational therapy, radiology services for adults and children, and specialty care and express clinics for children at UPMC South Hills at 1300 Oxford Drive in Bethel Park.

The move of pediatric services to South Fayette would allow the remaining adult services to expand in Bethel Park. The South Fayette location also would have a new general pediatrics practice and behavioral health clinic, O'Hern said.

Children's Hospital logs about 72,000 patient visits annually in Bethel Park, but it expects a 39 percent increase to 100,110 visits in South Fayette, O'Hern said.

Children's expects to break ground on the facility in April.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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