Even before construction is complete on Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale, a second phase is in the works that will see a seven- or eight-floor office tower for physicians that could bring another 700 jobs to the region.
Perry Webb, CEO of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, said Friday the Phase II project is on the drawing board for the Little Rock-based children’s specialty hospital. Webb talked about the project during a meeting of the Leadership Fayetteville class.
He said fundraising for the $70 million of private money needed for Phase I – the hospital – was completed about three years ahead of schedule which has prompted the hospital to move on the office tower. Webb was addressing a meeting of the Leadership Fayetteville class.
“It’s on the drawing board, still very early. … These jobs will be high paying and our challenge is to supply enough nurses and medical professionals to fill this center and not rob from our other local hospitals,” Webb said. “Arkansas Children’s has already begun hiring and recruiting for the new hospital.”
Work continues on the $167 million hospital located near Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. The 233,613-square-foot facility will house 250-300 employees. Other features for the children’s hospital include 24 inpatient beds, an outpatient clinic with 30 exam rooms, a pediatric surgery unit with five operating rooms and physical therapy services.
Hospital construction has been estimated to wrap up in late 2017 with an opening in early 2018. Officials with Arkansas Children’s were unavailable Friday to comment on when work might begin on Phase II and the project’s estimated cost.
The hospital is part of the ongoing investment in healthcare operations in Northwest Arkansas. Mike Harvey, interim CEO for Northwest Arkansas Council, told the Leadership Fayetteville class that roughly a half-billion dollars in healthcare investments are being made in the region over the next two years. The investments will result in about 1,500 jobs, making it the largest growing employment sector. He said for every 100 healthcare jobs created there are about 44 other jobs also created which is likely to keep this sector outpacing others for job creation into the next decade.
Steve Clark, CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber, said the $60 million expansion to Washington Regional Hospital added more than 100 new jobs and now that hospital has more rooms than the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.