Medical facility planned in Unity

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A new outpatient facility could be on the way to Unity.

Greensburg-based Excela Health met with the township planning commission last week for an advisory session, the first step toward possible approval of an expansive complex off Route 30.

"They chose to come in to see what we thought about this situation," said Tom Baumann, planning commission chairman. Excela's next action is to present a site plan for the panel's recommendation, after which township supervisors would vote on approval.

Township residents can learn more about the project at the planning commission's next meeting Dec. 4.

Along with the Unity location, Excela plans to build another outpatient facility in Hempfield as part of a long-term strategy to expand its presence in Westmoreland County while consolidating affiliated offices that are now scattered throughout the county, according to Michael D. Busch, chief operating officer. The new facilities are projected in the range of 80,000 to 120,000 square feet.

"From a business perspective, bringing services together improves efficiency and lowers cost, but most importantly, it makes things more convenient for patients and promotes quality throughout," Mr. Busch said last month in announcing the health system's expansion plans.

From Unity's perspective, planning commission members are taking a close look at the potential impact of the facility on Route 30 traffic. The proposed location is in an overlay zoning district, which allows regulations to be tailored to specific conditions.

A 2001 transportation study by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning agency, recommended that the township encourage shared driveways among commercial developments along the corridor.

"As planners, the last thing we want to do is create more traffic on the existing roads," Mr. Baumann said.

The proposed site is near several businesses on the heavily traveled section of Route 30 just east of Route 981, including Arnold Palmer Motors, Walmart, Lowe's, Kmart and Giant Eagle.

Excela Health, a nonprofit corporation formed in 2004, also owns Latrobe Hospital, Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg.

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Harry Funk, freelance writer:


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