Fayette nuns sell land for construction of WVU outpatient center
West Virginia University Medicine has purchased property from a Byzantine Catholic order of nuns in Uniontown for the development of an outpatient medical center, the university said.
Sister Ruth Plante, provincial for the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, said the sale involves 20 acres near the Mt. Macrina Manor nursing home which sits on the nuns’ property in Uniontown.
Closing on the sale is expected in the coming months, WVU spokeswoman Angela Jones-Knopf said.
“At this time, we do not have a definitive start date for construction on the outpatient center, as we are still doing market analysis and trying to determine how to best meet the needs of the area,” Jones-Knopf said.
“We’re hoping by the end of September that everything will be in place,” Plante said. “Our legal teams have certain documents in place — it’s just a matter of (WVU) getting everything they need (in the way of permits).”
The Sisters of St. Basil own about 250 acres — known as Mt. St. Macrina — in Uniontown and have called the area home since 1933. Because of declining vocations and an aging population, the order has been exploring future uses for the property in the hopes of downsizing.
In 2017, the Sisters commissioned a study to look at potential uses for the land and the buildings. They also enlisted the services of Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate marketing firm in Pittsburgh, to create a marketing brochure.
The talks with WVU grew out of that effort and come in the wake of a planned partnership between WVU Medicine and Uniontown Hospital announced in January, Plante said.
As more people from Uniontown and Fayette County look to Morgantown, W.Va., rather than Pittsburgh for their health care, WVU Medicine has turned its attention northward to Pennsylvania, she said.
“A number of people from here go there to the (WVU) hospital, so they want to expand their presence,” she said. “They’re anxious to get started, so once they get all the pieces together … we’ll be able to sign a sales agreement.”
The project will involve the construction of a medical office building, and possibly a second, and a parking lot on 20 acres near Mt. Macrina Manor. That part of Mt. St. Macrina has improvements and utilities already in, and is only a five-minute drive from Uniontown Hospital, Plante said.
“That’s the only active offer that we’ve had for the use of the property,” Plante said, noting that she hopes it will lead to further interest from other parties.
“It’s a slow process,” she said. “We do want whatever comes in to fit with our mission, which is praying, healing and lifegiving.”
Housing, education and social services, in addition to health care, are other potential uses for the property, she said.
Mt. St. Macrina is the site of the oldest and largest Byzantine Catholic pilgrimage in the United States. The 85th annual pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .