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Excela seeks $26M funding push for projects

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

Excela Health is seeking $26 million in public funding to help pay for three projects, including $10 million to build an outpatient clinic in Unity, according to state budget documents.

The $10 million request is half the cost of the project.

The funding request is contained in the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program, a $3.5 billion package of assorted public and private projects. The budget is considered a “wish list,” and many of the projects never receive funding.

In addition to funding for the clinic, Excela hopes to get $4.5 million to upgrade the intensive care unit at Excela Health Westmoreland hospital in Greensburg and $11.5 million to consolidate its orthopedic services.

If the health system doesn't receive the money for the outpatient clinic, Excela plans to proceed with the project, said spokeswoman Robin Jennings.

“The grant is not the deciding factor in our plans,” she said.

Excela will build a three-story, 100,000-square-foot clinic on nearly 29 acres off Route 30. The health system operates a similar clinic in North Huntingdon and is considering plans to build another in Hempfield, although that project has been delayed, Jennings said.

“We've yet to identify property in Hempfield,” she said.

Excela's plans for a clinic puts it in competition with a for-profit facility that will be built in Unity by Post Acute Medical LLC of Camp Hill. Post Acute will open a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital that Excela officials said will compete with a smaller unit at its hospital in Latrobe.

Others seek state help

Excela isn't the only local organization seeking state funds.

Seton Hill University in Greensburg hopes to snare $6 million to use toward constructing a $12 million Dance and Visual Arts Center. When Ed Rendell was governor, the university received $5 million in public funding for its arts center.

St. Vincent College near Latrobe wants $8 million from the special budget to build a combination educational, athletic and cultural center.

Several health-care organizations across the state received funding in February, according to state budget records. The Lankenau Hospital in Montgomery County received $2.5 million for a project; Geisinger Hospital for Advanced Medicine in Montour, 2.4 million; St. Mary's Surgical Center in Bucks, $3 million; and St. Luke's Miner's Clinic in Somerset, $750,000.

Several local projects that received funding in February include $1 million each for Latrobe and the Westmoreland County Airpark at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. Fay-Penn, an economic development agency in Fayette County, got $1 million for the Dunbar Business Park.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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