Arkansas Colleges of Health Education announce second college, more than $21 million in new development

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 2,971 views 

The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) announced Tuesday (June 27) the follow-up to its Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM). The new 60,000 square-foot facility in Fort Smith will be called the Arkansas College of Health Sciences (ARCHS), and will welcome its first classes in 2020.

ACHE reported a $15 million “anonymous gift” in support of the facility, which will house multiple disciplines, including therapeutic doctoral degrees, physician assistant, and other master and doctoral degrees to be announced.

The building will be one of three planned colleges opposite and adjacent to ARCOM, which broke ground in February 2015 and will welcome its first class of 162 students on July 31. ARCOM is a $32.4 million facility, housed in a three story, 102,000-square-foot building, and a fully operational osteopathic college expected to serve about 600 students. The first class is expected to graduate 150, assuming an 8% dropout rate in conjunction with estimates from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) — the accrediting body for osteopathic colleges.

In addition to the colleges, ACHE has completed a 3,000 square-foot research support facility — expandable to 7,000 square feet — that will serve as a place to conduct case studies and clinical trials. The facility houses $1 million in initial equipment, and will be used for basic biomedical and educational research as well. The facility has memorandums of understanding in place with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) and Arkansas Tech University (ATU) in Russellville.

Current and future colleges will together be a centerpiece for a planned zoning development (PZD). PZDs are a type of building development and regulatory process that feature designed grouping of varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, within one contained development or subdivision. It “represents more than two years of planning with the engagement of nationally recognized experts,” the organization stated in a media release, and includes direct involvement by departmental agencies of Fort Smith, Barling, and the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) — the first PZD to ever do so.

ACHE’s PZD will include one- and two-bedroom units for student housing. ACHE has completed Phase I of its student housing plan and has announced Phase II — dubbed “The Residents” — which will be an additional $6 million investment creating 80 new units (96 beds). With Phase I and II, the campus will host a total of 218 beds. While that falls short of the number needed to house the 600 students expected to be on campus by the time ARCHS opens its doors, the site’s 282 acres leaves plenty of room for expansion and development plans call for more than 1,900 types of housing which include 625 multi-family rentals, 125 multi-family for-sales, 215 single-family attached, and 1,020 “low-, mid-, and high-range single family detached” units.

It will also host 30 categories of retail, including apparel, department stores, grocery stores, home furnishings, jewelry, pharmacy, and liquor stores expected to generate $19.2 million in taxable sales. Restaurant-wise, there will be 10 categories, including pubs, full-service, limited service, and specialty foods, that are estimated to generate $6.7 million in taxable sales. Together, retail and restaurant taxable sales are expected to hit $25.9 million.

Drilling down into layout, ACHE property will feature a “Neighborhood Center Zone” to consist of a bike trail and stormwater management stream. It will be within walking distance of the surrounding, primarily residential areas and the ACHE campus. Amenities will include six lakes, multiple parks/recreational activities, biking/walking trails, a town center, and a campus police force.

Link here for a follow-up story that includes more details about the planned zoning development.