A new look, with familiar elements

Hard hats are being replaced with football helmets this week as work has been completed on the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Photos of the completed UPMC Rooney Sports Complex

For more than six months the facility, where the Steelers practice throughout the regular season and offseason, has undergone numerous changes and the results are a stunning transformation that combines fresh new looks, while maintaining the team's rich history.

The complex also underwent a name change to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, with the goal to honor Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney by adding the family name.

"I think it is a great honor for him," said Steelers' President Art Rooney II last fall. "I think he sometimes has mixed emotions about that, but I think he's very pleased his name will be here. He and (UPMC Dr.) Freddie Fu had the vision to pull this together, and so it's great it's going to be named for him."

"This has been an outstanding partnership and it is exciting to see growth and renewal taking place within the complex," said Brian F. Hagen, VP Network Services UPMC/CRS. "Since the opening in 2000, many changes have taken place along the years with expansion and growth of our laboratory facilities and the recently expanded concussion treatment space within the Sports Medicine Center.  The expansion and facelift for the Steelers continues to improve our overall programming in the complex and the south side appeal."

The changes are noticeable from the time you arrive, as the front entrance and lobby have undergone a complete makeover. But the new look still has a bit of yesteryear, with a steel Pittsburgh Steelers sign that was once on the outside of the team's office at Three Rivers Stadium now adorning the main wall in the lobby.

One of the biggest renovations took place in the team's weight room, which with all the changes the name 'weight room' is not even appropriate any longer.

"It's going to be a special area," said conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont. "Everything has been planned out to take it from a weight room to a performance center."

The renovation provided much needed space to the area and will allow for six power racks and two Keiser racks, which combine lifting for strength and explosion. There will also be machines for strength and conditioning and athletic training rehabilitation. 

In addition there will be a wall that is designed to take force for the players to do their medicine ball work and slam ball work.

Overlooking the area will be the cardio mezzanine, a second floor that has sweeping views of the practice field and the Monongahela River.

The newly designed performance center is going to be a welcome change.

"(The players) are really excited," said Giemont. "We went through this offseason where we weren't in the traditional space of the weight room. When you were to walk past the area (where the weight room was under construction) to go to the field, you could see the progress being made. The guys are really fired up and can hardly wait to get in there and actively use the equipment to put us in a position to win a world championship."

The changes will also be apparent in some of the television and digital content the Steelers produce. The Steelers made a series of improvements to the studio heading into the 2015 season and will do so again for the start of the regular season.

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