Hundreds of Millions Being Spent on Healthcare Construction Projects in Arkansas
By BECKY GILLETTE
Mercy Northwest Arkansas, Arkansas Children's Northwest, Washington Regional and St. Bernards Healthcare among the largest medical construction projects
SPRINGDALE - The long-anticipated $100-million Arkansas Children's Northwest (ACNW) opened in late February after years of planning and construction.
"This marks the first time the region's 200,000 children have had access to comprehensive pediatric care close to home," said Hilary DeMillo, senior media relations specialist for Arkansas Children's. "The Springdale campus joins a flagship hospital in Little Rock, a statewide transport system dedicated to delivering children in critical condition to life-saving care, and a range of outreach programs that include telemedicine, mobile health and school-based health solutions."
ACNW has some unique offerings including 233,613 square feet of wellness space designed to maximize children's discovery and delight. There are outdoor gardens, nature trails and interactive features designed specifically for children.
Some of the medical amenities include a state-of-the-art pediatric surgery unit with five operating rooms, a full range of ancillary and diagnostic services, child-life social work and pastoral care programs.
ACNW has a staff of 30 physicians in Springdale. Subspecialists based at Arkansas Children's in Little Rock also see children at ACNW at outpatient clinics.
ACNW has received tremendous support form the community with more than 14,000 gifts totaling about $81 million in philanthropic support.
William L. Bradley Medical Plaza at Washington Regional Medical Center
Another major project in Northwest Arkansas is a $43-million Core Renewal Project at Washington Regional Medical Center, Fayetteville. Spokesperson Gina B. Maddox said the current expansion is mostly an interior renovation with technology updates, but also will include adding about 20,000 square feet (atop existing footprint) for patient rooms.
Maddox said the Core Renewal Project is designed to accommodate Washington Regional Medical Center's current needs and also to facilitate additional growth. The total project will add a Neuro Sciences ICU that will provide an additional 20 critical-care beds.
There will also be an interventional radiology room to provide capacity for interventional neuro-radiology and surgical thrombectomy procedures. Maddox said it also gives the hospital the capacity to prepare for Comprehensive Stroke Center certification. Washington Regional is currently a Primary Stroke Center, the first in the region. The project also includes patient lobby space for surgery, a heart cath lab and interventional radiology.
Maddox said the total project will expand the following:
Construction is expected to be completed by September 2019.
Other recent construction projects at Washington Regional include the 133,000-square-foot Women and Infants Center that opened in November 2016 and the 76,000-square-foot William L. Bradley Medical Plaza opened in May 2017.
On the Northeast side of the state, in early January a "topping out" ceremony was held when construction crews placed the final steel beam on the new Baptist Memorial Hospital-Crittenden. During the event, the final beam signed by dozens of residents was raised to the top of the building. An evergreen tree and a flag were tied to the beam, as is traditional.
"We thought this would be the perfect time to show the people of Crittenden
County how much progress we've made in the past few months," Baptist Crittenden's CEO and Administrator Brian Welton said at the ceremony. "Construction is on schedule, and we expect it to be complete by around this time next year."
The new 65,000-square-foot hospital will include an emergency room, cancer services, diagnostics and operating rooms. While construction continues, Baptist expects to start assembling the hospital's leadership team and hiring staff members this spring.
Also, in fast-growing Northeast Arkansas, Haag Brown Commercial has announced the development of a new, state-of-the-art medical facility for NEA Baptist Clinic along Highway 49 North in Brookland. The 7,000-square-foot medical office will be located at the corner of Highway 49 North and Honeysuckle between Jordan's Kwik Stop and Dollar General.
Recently, Haag-Brown Development, LLC signed a long-term lease with the NEA Baptist Health System. The clinic will continue to operate out of their current location on West Smith Street until construction on the new building is complete, which is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2018.
St. Bernards phase III expansion gets underway.
Work continues on the four-phase $137.5-million Master Plan project at St. Bernards Healthcare. The first phase, enlarging and renovating the Cancer Center, was completed in 2016 and has allowed St. Bernards to bring all cancer services together under a single roof, making care more convenient for patients, according to Kila Owens, media relations manager.
She also reports that Phase II, enlarging and expanding the Heartcare Center, is expected to be complete by April 1. When this project is complete, St. Bernards will have a total of six cath and electrophysiology labs.
Phase III includes construction of a new five-story intensive care and surgical tower, as well as permanent changes in Emergency Department access. The site preparation phase is ending with underground piers/footings and utilities underway. Project is on schedule to open in 2019.
"This phase literally will transform the look of downtown Jonesboro while giving St. Bernards a new 'front door,'" Owens said. "The five-story tower will have a covered entrance leading into an impressive atrium at ground level. From there, patients and visitors can access admissions and registration and visitor-friendly amenities such as a coffee shop, education rooms, a new chapel and more."
One level will house 14 surgical suites and support programs. Another will house a 48-bed critical care unit. Part of the structure will be shelled in to allow for future expansion. The expected completion date is 2019.
When patient care has been moved into the new tower, Phase IV work will begin. It will include renovations to the current medical center-patient rooms as well as public areas such as nutrition services and the cafeteria.
The master plan was developed in conjunction with HKS, a Dallas firm that has designed healthcare projects throughout the world. Nabholz Construction, with a presence in Jonesboro, is serving as contractor.
In the center of the state, CHI St. Vincent is building a new destination for its Arkansas Neuroscience Institute (ANI) at CHI St. Vincent North in Sherwood. ANI will be relocated from the main campus when the building is complete.
Chris Stines, vice president of operations for CHI St. Vincent North, said there are two projects. One involves $13 million worth of renovations to the existing CHI St. Vincent North hospital and the second is a brand new $12-million, 40,000-square-foot Neuroscience Research and Education building that will be adjacent to the hospital that is being constructed for ANI to provide clinic space, office space for physicians and staff, an expanded cranium/spine research lab, a 150-seat auditorium and a medical office building for new tenants.
"We are the destination location for neurosciences in Arkansas," Stines said. "This expansion will allow us to become a larger presence. We outgrew our space at the current location at the Infirmary at the main campus. By moving neuroscience here, we will be able to expand capability for neuroscience and allow for future growth at the main location to continue to better serve the needs of our communities. It is pretty groundbreaking in terms of unifying the two sides of the river and erasing a perceived separation between the north and the south sides of the river. Sherwood and North Little Rock leaders are excited for us to complete the work we have started."
Stines said by moving neurosciences to this location they will be creating more opportunity for patient care centered on neurosciences as clinical staff will be primarily focused on the neuro patient, which will lead to more consistent care of the neuropatient.
Nexcore is the developer for the new Research and Education Building and the general contractor is Clark Construction. For hospital side, the general contractor is Nabholz. Taggart Architecture is the architect for both the new building and hospital projects.
Groundbreaking is scheduled April 27 with the project estimated to be completed first quarter of 2019.
The new building will allow CHI St. Vincent to expand its existing international focus and focus on research and education.
"ANI has a large international presence with other neurosurgeons throughout the year and holds six educational conferences per year," Stines said. "We will be able to transmit images of surgeries we do in the new operating rooms via technology over to the new auditorium of the Research and Education Building so learners can view those surgeries in 3D animation."
In addition to renovating four operating rooms, they are also adding 10 additional ICU rooms and their total critical care beds will go up from eight to 18. They will be getting an additional 3T MRI and also getting an additional 128-slice CT.
"The 3T MRI technology will allow us to better diagnose clinical problems than with the 1.5T MRI," he said. "For example, it is more advanced in diagnosing seizure activity. In addition to those two pieces of advanced radiology technology, we are adding an Angio suite, which includes a bi-plane for neurointerventional radiology. We are also building a new pharmacy on our ground floor and as well as a helipad."
The hospital work is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Mercy Northwest Arkansas is in the middle of investing $277 million on capital projects and equipment between 2016 and 2021, an expansion in healthcare facilities and services that is expected to create 1,000 new health care jobs.
"Our hospital and clinics have been serving the community at a very high capacity," said Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital president. "To ensure we carry out our mission and continue to meet the needs of Northwest Arkansas, we developed this $277 million community presence plan that will allow us to serve our patients into the future by providing additional access to quality care and advancing the region as a healthcare destination."
Among expansion plans are:
"Having more clinics and recruiting new doctors and advanced practitioners to Mercy will allow our patients to get care close to home," said Dr. Steve Goss, president of Mercy Clinic. "Our intent is that these expansions will positively impact the health and wellness of the community."
Another healthcare construction project in Northwest Arkansas was celebrated recently when a blessing and ribbon cutting were held Feb. 19 for the quadrupling of space at Mercy Therapy Services at 1101 S. Horsebarn Road in Rogers. Mercy Therapy Services now totals about 10,000 square feet housing 11 providers, including six physical therapists, who can help patients recovering from surgery, injury or illness. The space was renovated to add new treatment areas and equipment, wide-open exercise spaces and curtained treatment rooms for individualized therapy.
"Now we have this shiny, sparkling new space, and we have the ability to care for more patients in a way that doesn't feel like they're on top of each other," said Joe Manthe, Mercy's director of therapy services.