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Planned UPMC facility to be 'big economic boost' for Cranberry

| Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
From left, Cranberry Township manager Jerry Andree, chairman of the Cranberry Board of Supervisors Bruce Mazzoni, President and CEO of UPMC Jeffrey A. Romoff, hockey legend Mario Lemieux, and Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse break ground at the future site of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex with UPMC officials in Cranberry on Wednesday, October 2, 2013. With two sheets of ice and a performance training center, the complex serve as a practice rink for the Penguins as well as a home to local youth hockey and public skating.

When a UPMC sports medicine complex opens in Cranberry in about two years, it will bring more than a training facility for the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team and two ice rinks to the Butler County community.

“It'll mean a big economic boost for the Cranberry region,” said Elizabeth Concordia, president of UPMC's hospital and community services division.

Beyond the $72 million investment to build the medical complex, and the up to 100 people who are expected to be employed there, the facility will attract amateur and professional athletes from across the country, Concordia said.

Athletes seeking training and medical treatment, along with tournaments and other events at the complex, should bring people to Cranberry who will stay in hotels and eat at restaurants, she said.

In its first year of operation, about 50,000 patients are expected to visit the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, she said. That figure could rise to 200,000 a year within several years, she said.

Construction of the complex is expected to begin in March. It should open in summer 2015, officials said.

With a premier hockey-focused training and rehabilitation center, two ice rinks and a full-service sports-medicine wing, the complex will be the first of its kind in the country, David Morehouse, CEO of the Penguins, said during a groundbreaking ceremony last week at the site along Route 228.

“This is going to be a wonderful facility for Cranberry,” he said.

Bruce Mazzoni, chairman of the Cranberry board of supervisors, hailed the complex during the ground-breaking ceremony and said it's a sign that the community's efforts to build a diverse economy are working.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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