Springdale commission to consider Arkansas Children’s Hospital plan – Northwest Arkansas News

SPRINGDALE — Dirt work should begin soon on a new children’s hospital for the region.

The plan for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Springdale Campus is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on Feb. 2.

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To learn more about Arkansas Children’s Hospital, go to archildrens.org.

Hospital leaders announced in August 2015 plans to build a 225,000-square-foot, 24-bed hospital near Arvest Ballpark on land donated by Gary and Robin George and David and Cathy Evans. The estimated construction cost is about $165 million, said Trisha Montague, senior vice president of regional services for Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Hospital officials hope to start moving dirt to prepare the site in March or April, Montague said.

The plan for the hospital shows 36.39 acres on the northeast corner of the Watkins Avenue and South 56th Street intersection. Interstate 49 sits on the property’s east side.

A small road would extend north from Watkins Avenue along the east side of the hospital building, while another small road would extend east from South 56th Street north of the hospital building, according to the plan. The plan also shows two ponds and a walking trail that would wind through the property.

Plans for the building show five operating rooms, 30 clinical exam rooms, an emergency department and urgent care center with 21 exam rooms, a helipad and refueling station and imaging and diagnostic services. The most critical patients will still need to be transferred to Little Rock, and the new site will not include a neonatal intensive care unit.

A fire access road would lead to the south side of the hospital, while a loading dock would sit on the southeast side of the building. The majority of the parking lot space would be just north of the building.

The hospital is tentatively scheduled to open in early 2018, Marcy Doderer, Arkansas Children’s Hospital CEO, has said. It will cost about $245 million to operate for the first five years, Hilary DeMillo, a hospital spokeswoman, wrote via email.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation has a goal to raise $70 million for the project, Montague said. The foundation is the fundraising arm for the hospital, DeMillo said.

When asked how much money the foundation has raised so far, Montague said she was not willing to discuss specifics. She did say more details are likely to be available in the summer.

“Yes, we have raised some funds and are grateful for the enthusiastic response from northwest Arkansas donors,” DeMillo wrote. “But we have a long way to go and the need is great if we are going to provide care closer to home for northwest Arkansas kids.”

Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said he thinks the hospital will be a positive concerning development around the ballpark. He said he thinks more announcements about development are likely because of projects already announced, like Northwest Arkansas Community College and Sam’s Club.

The college is planning a center with a focus on career and technical education. The college owns land west of the ballpark. The future Sam’s Club is planned for the southeast corner of West Sunset Avenue and South 56th Street.

Street work and the Ballpark Area/Southwest Springdale District Overlay foster an environment for development, Sprouse said. Improvements underway on part of 56th Street include two roundabouts and widening the street. Sprouse said he hopes that work will be finished in about a month.

Springdale City Council approved the district overlay on Feb. 24, 2015. It provides rules and regulations for development. The borders of the district are Sunset Avenue to the north, Interstate 49 to the east, North Maestri Road or the city boundary to the west and 660 feet south of Don Tyson Parkway for the southern border.

NW News on 01/10/2016