Residents discuss location, features of proposed Jefferson Hills community center
Two possible locations for a proposed community center in Jefferson Hills emerged during a public forum held Jan. 16: the site of the soon-to-be-vacant Thomas Jefferson High School, and a portion of a field at the Practice T Golf Center.
Representatives from Core Architects, the firm consulting the borough’s recreation board for the project, said the two sites would be suitably sized for an outdoor walking trail in addition to any indoor amenities.
Students are expected to move to the new $95 million Thomas Jefferson High School at the start of the 2019-20 school year.
Core Architects said several other locations have been scouted, and no final decisions have been made as to where the center will sit. The firm hopes to have several renderings at different sites ready to submit to the Jefferson Hills Borough Council by late February or early March.
No cost estimate for the project has yet been determined. Existing facilities in neighboring municipalities took several million dollars to develop, Core Architects said.
During the forum, residents shared ideas for a center that included basketball and racket sport courts, multipurpose rooms and banquet space. Several residents said they saw the center as an opportunity to provide school-aged children with a way to stay active during winter.
Residents said the center should be accessible not only to children and younger residents but to adults and senior citizens as well.
Members of the recreational board and residents agreed the center should not cater exclusively to athletics, saying the center could be the communal gathering place Jefferson Hills currently lacks. Many agreed the facility would almost certainly be used by residents from neighboring communities as well.
“This could be that signature point of A: the borough, and B: the community,” said Board Member Bryan Konick.
A few residents suggested the board work with UPMC, which is planning to develop a new branch hospital in the borough, to acquire funding for the project.
UPMC plans to build near the intersection of Elliot Road and Route 51. Several parcels of land near the intersection, including the former Practice T Golf Center, were purchased in the last year by AUUE Inc., according to county real estate records. UPMC officials have indicated the healthcare giant owns the land.
Konick said members of the board have had preliminary talks both with UPMC and the Allegheny Health Network concerning a possible partnership.
Core Architects will use the suggestions from the forum to further develop a master plan for the center. Konick said a second input meeting could be held, although the firm still aims to finish its feasibility study before the end of winter.
Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.