Mercy breaks ground on new clinic in southwest Bentonville, gives update on hospital work

by Kim Souza ( 697 views 

Rendering of Mercy Health primary care clinic planned for Bentonville.

Several dozen business and civic leaders gathered Thursday morning (June 8) at the future site of a new 14,000 square-foot Mercy Health primary care clinic estimated to cost $7.7 million.

The clinic will be built at 4344 S.W. I St. in Bentonville in front of Citizen’s Park and the Bentonville Community Center. It is one of two clinics Mercy Health plans to open in Bentonville in the next year to 18 months as part of a $247 million investment the health provider is making in Northwest Arkansas over the next four years.

In that major investment announced in April 2016, there were 7 clinics planned: 2 in Bentonville; 1 in  Pea Ridge; 1 in west Bella Vista; 1 in Springdale; and 2 other locations to be announced.

Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital, told Talk Business & Politics the I Street Clinic will employ six physicians and/or physician assistants when it opens a year from now. He said Crossland will begin construction in a couple of weeks. The clinic will have 29 exam rooms and speciality providers who will offer services on a rotation basis.

“When we did our planning we wanted to try and meet the gaps in healthcare in the community. There were lots of places we needed to be closer to patients in order to bring (primary care and ancillary) services to them as opposed them having to travel for those services,” Pianalto said. “The number of rooftops between here and Centerton is amazing and we are trying to reach that growth.”

He said the clinic will be slightly larger than the one in neighboring Centerton and slightly smaller than the newest clinic in Bella Vista. It will sit on 19 acres Mercy bought
from Clayton Eversole in December for $2.4 million, according to county real estate records. Pianalto said Eversole made a generous donation as part of this land deal.

He said the clinic is being built so it can be expanded at a later date given it sits on a 19-acre tract. Pianalto said demand will dictate how fast the clinic adds 14 more exam rooms which are dubbed as Phase II of this project.

In the next couple of weeks he said Mercy will break ground on a clinic located on North Walton Boulevard at the other end of Bentonville. Mercy bought the 2.4-acre parcel in June 2016 for $843,975 from Grizzly Properties, according to county records.

Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin, a former Mercy Hospital board member, said there’s no greater compliment than having a company invest millions of dollars in your community. He said the Mercy clinic will enhance other development in the area, including the city’s Bentonville Community Center next door.

Pianalto said construction will begin later this fall on a large clinic in Springdale just off Interstate 49 in northern Washington County. Phase I of the Springdale clinic will be similar to the larger clinic in Bella Vista offering special services as well as primary care. That project should begin this fall and take 14 to 18 months to complete.

Pianalto also provided Talk Business & Politics with a brief update on the hospital expansion plan underway in Rogers. He said with all the construction in Northwest Arkansas the bids came in higher than expected. The hospital expansion includes a new 7-story patient tower and 190,000 additional square feet of space as well as moving and expanding the hospital’s neonatal Intensive Care unit.

“We are on time for the August 2019 completion and while some of the bids are higher than we planned for, we do think the final project will come in at budget or below. We have a pretty healthy contingency and costs are still within that budget,” he said.

He said the earliest any part of the hospital expansion could  open would be January 2019 as his team is working to expedite the opening of the first four floors by then.

“It’s a complicated project and the tie ins to the existing hospital are extensive, but we really hope to get the first four floors open in early 2019,” Pianalto said.