The day many anticipated for a long time finally came as Arkansas Children’s Northwest officially opened Tuesday morning (Feb. 27) in Springdale. The pediatric hospital brings specialty care closer to home for 200,000 children living in and around Northwest Arkansas.
This milestone marks the first time that pediatric emergency medical services have been available in the region with a pediatric emergency department. Arkansas Children’s Northwest is designed, staffed and equipped just for children. Resources ranging from bed size to play-focused therapy and medications are specially tailored to children’s unique sizes and needs at ACH Northwest.
“This emergency department and hospital will fundamentally transform child health in the region,” said Arkansas Children’s CEO Marcy Doderer. “As we open our doors – and our arms – we welcome families to a place that provides every imaginable resource a child needs to be better today and healthier tomorrow.”
The health system moved existing outpatient clinics from Lowell to the new facility in January. Offering 24 inpatient beds and 30 clinic rooms, ACH Northwest was built on 37 acres west of Interstate 49 in Springdale donated by Robin and Gary George, Cathy and David Evans and their families. The land was valued at $7.5 million.
The hospital came together quickly from the initial announcement in August 2015 to a fundraising effort that eclipsed most others in the region as the ACH Foundation raised $80 million over the past 17 months, surpassing the $70 million goal. Doderer told Talk Business & Politics in January the Northwest Arkansas hospital received broad community support from 14,000 donors. The overall financial investment is a projected $427.7 million which includes construction, $2 million in overruns, and technology, equipment and operating expenses for the the first five years.
The new campus joins a flagship hospital in Little Rock, a statewide transport system dedicated to delivering children in critical condition to life-saving care, and a range of outreach programs that include telemedicine, mobile health and school-based health solutions.
“We will keep going to communities statewide in the ways they need us to ensure Arkansas becomes the safest and healthiest place to raise a child,” said Chief Operating Officer Chanda Cashen Chacon. “Each corner and every stretch in between deserve resources that work specifically for their own children.”
Trisha Montague, chief administrator for ACH Northwest, told Talk Business & Politics the reason the hospital would open about two months behind the original schedule was the project came together so quickly construction was sometimes halted because design work was not complete. She said given the scope of the investment it was better to take extra time to ensure the design was right. Montague said before the hospital could open it had to pass accreditation and secure state licensure with the Arkansas Department of Health, which it did earlier this month. That was the final step before the hospital could begin operating.
The hospital features five operating rooms, 233,613 square feet of wellness space to maximize children’s discovery, diagnostic and ancillary services, child-life social work programs, outdoor gardens, nature trails, a helipad and refueling station for Angel One, the care-flight transport service.
“We open knowing that we are needed now more than ever,” Montague said. “We are ready to help families as they cope with the most challenging flu season our nation has seen in a decade.”
The staff of Arkansas Children’s Northwest, including its emergency team, has been training on site since December. Day-in-the-life exercises and constant monitoring of the region’s situation have prepared the team for an influx of patients on the first day.
“We stand ready to greet Northwest Arkansas children,” Montague said, “And offer them the unparalleled comfort of care close to home.”