Updated: Aug 16, 2021
By Alex Lehmbeck and Dontae Washington
Despite delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, Coraopolis will soon become home to a state-of-the-art sports complex and medical center. A collaboration between the Allegheny Health Network (AHN), Highmark Health and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer team, the “AHN Montour Health and Sports Medicine Center” aims to bring this massive project to life by the first quarter of 2022.
The Riverhounds announced the $16 million complex in July of 2019, calling the building “one of the largest of its kind in the country, and one of the very few with an onsite medical facility.”
Matt Grubba, director of communications for the Riverhounds, said the sports complex will include 10 full-sized soccer fields, eight outdoor and two indoor. Two of the outdoor fields have already opened, used by local soccer, lacrosse, and rugby clubs. It is also the current home for Pittsburgh’s Hispanic soccer league.
Originally scheduled for completion in 2021, it was one of many construction projects impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the setback, Highmark Health Vice President of Enterprise Partnerships Dave Hall insists the building’s opening is right around the corner.
While the proximity to the sports fields makes the medical center especially catered to athletes, the center will be open to anyone who chooses to utilize it. Hall hopes it becomes a trusted resource for athletes and non-athletes alike.
“When we open these facilities, they are designed to be there to support the broad community,” Hall said. “Now, the fact that you’re gonna have thousands of kids and teams and clubs coming through there, obviously they will have just as easy access to that as anyone else. But it is first and foremost designed to be a community asset for Western Pennsylvania, just like all of our facilities are across the footprint.”
While there is one UPMC outpatient center in Moon, the region around Coraopolis is not a hub for medical facilities. But Coraopolis had the available land to attract the Riverhounds and Highmark Health’s interest.
“[The complex will] bring an asset to Western Pennsylvania that has really never been there before,” Hall said. “What this comprehensive facility and complex is going to afford Western Pennsylvania is very unique. We’ve never seen anything like it before here in this community.”
Grubba expects the soccer facilities to bring more people and business to Coraopolis, comparing the project to the AHN Sports Complex at Cool Springs in the South Hills, constructed a few years ago.
“The hope is that the completion of this facility will lead to growth around it in Coraopolis and the neighboring municipalities,” he said.
“Prior to 2016, that stretch of road [near Bethel Park] had a couple local businesses and a Lowe’s nearby, but in the past five years, Cool Springs has seen the arrival of a handful of restaurants, commercial office space, a senior living residence.”
From a soccer standpoint, Grubba hopes the facility will get recognition from many different organizations around the country.
“We hope having a venue like this will be the catalyst to start bringing national-level tournaments, large college showcases, and other events to Pittsburgh,” he said. “If we’re able to bring in large events and teams from out-of-state to the area, that will only be a boost to both the Pittsburgh soccer community and local businesses.”
Although the Riverhounds announced the plans in 2019, the project has developed over a significantly longer amount of time.
Hall said he first did a walking tour of the site back in 2012, marking the earliest stages of the process. Highmark Stadium broke ground that same year, solidifying the organization’s ties with Pittsburgh’s soccer club.
The COVID-19 delays have made Hall and his peers even more excited to finally see the final product, calling the facility a “labor of love.” He hopes a grand, well-promoted ribbon-cutting ceremony will kick things off.
“These things sometimes take a lot of time,” Hall said. “Personally, I cannot wait. Corporately, our leadership cannot wait. I know our friends both at Friends of Pittsburgh Professional Soccer and the Riverhounds can’t wait. And I know Coraopolis can’t wait.”