Mercy officials provided details Monday (June 17) on the $42 million Orthopedic Hospital in Fort Smith that should be completed by October 2014 and could add to up to 100 jobs to the local economy.

The new hospital is located at the site – 79th Street and Phoenix Avenue – where a group of doctors in 2008 tried to build an orthopedic hospital.  Mercy purchased the site in February 2011.

An adjacent ambulatory surgery center, doctors’ offices and rehab operation now employs about 170. When the new orthopedic hospital opens in late 2014, about 100 more employees will be needed for the operation, according to Janeen Kueck, executive director of the Mercy Orthopedic Hospital.

The 69,000-square-foot hospital will be two stories and will connect to the existing ambulatory surgery center.

“This hospital is the final piece of the puzzle on this campus,” Dr. Keith Bolyard, medical director of Mercy’s musculoskeletal campus, said in a statement. “We’re already able to take care of children, people who’ve had accidents or injuries and recreational athletes at this location. Now we’ll add baby boomers in need of surgery for knee, hip and shoulder replacements to the list.”

The hospital’s first floor will include:
• 10,138-square-foot outpatient rehabilitation clinic with a therapy pool able to accommodate more than 100 patients per day;
• Pre-operative screening area where patients will come prior to surgery for a physical, EKG, x-ray and lab screening;
• Surgery waiting and registration; and,
• Café serving breakfast, lunch and a light dinner with seating for 50 and patio dining available.

The second floor will include 18 patient rooms at opening with six more available when they are needed, a chapel and a waiting area for families. The second floor also includes shell space for 12 beds that will bring the hospital to 36 beds when the capacity is needed.

“The entire building design centers around making recovery for patients quick and comfortable,” Kueck said in the statement. “The inpatient floor has a loop like hallway so patients can begin walking shortly after surgery. Flooring changes will help them gauge how many feet they’ve walked as they gain strength. There are also special chairs in the patient rooms to aid in bedside physical therapy. The goal is to get patients back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

The $42 million Mercy Orthopedic Hospital is a large part of Mercy’s $192 million community master plan, which, according to a company statement, is “designed to recruit and retain doctors, build infrastructure and upgrade technology over the next seven years.” The plan was announced in August 2011.

Mercy formally opened its $10 million Heart and Vascular Center [4] on Feb. 20. The 16,000-square-foot center was built within renovated space within Mercy’s primary hospital in Fort Smith.

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The City Wire Staff