Mercy’s $247 million ongoing expansion in Northwest Arkansas includes a 63,000-square-foot clinic and emergency and outpatient surgery center under construction in northwest Springdale.
Kerry Harper, executive director of support services for Sisters of Mercy Health System, said that’s just a starting point. Long range plans call for an inpatient tower addition that would convert the clinic into a hospital.
Harper recently shared some of the health system’s longer term expansion plans in Springdale with the city’s planning commission. He said the new clinic was expanded from the original plans, with officials working to reposition the large facility on the 31-acre lot so an inpatient tower could be added in a later phase.
Construction is underway and Mercy expects to open the $45 million clinic in August 2019. He said it was an ambitious timeline but after revisions and expansion it’s doable. When the clinic opens it will be fully staffed with 20 providers. Mercy said the clinic’s 130 employees have already been hired for the Phase I project. Dr. Lawrence Schemel will move his Springdale practice into the new clinic when it opens.
This large clinic will be roughly double the size of the Bella Vista facility which opened in 2013.
“When we did volume projections for Bella Vista we way undershot the demand and I think we will see that again in Springdale given this city’s ongoing growth,” Martine Pollard, communications director at Mercy, told the planning commission.
She said Mercy studied the demographic the Springdale clinic will serve and its design was modified to allow for easy additions in what will be a multiphase build out. When asked about a timeline for the Springdale footprint expansion, Mercy said only it involves multiple phases and gave no calendar timeline.
Harper said plans for an inpatient tower with 36 beds per floor are seen as a Phase II addition, but that will require more funding on top of the $247 million already committed to the hospital expansion at Mercy in Rogers and seven clinics in the region. Hospital officials anticipate the seven-story patient tower addition to the Rogers hospital will be completed by July 2019.
The new Springdale clinic is by far the largest of the outpatient facilities. Clinics have opened in Pea Ridge and southwest Bentonville, with another under constructon in north Bentonville along Walton Boulevard. Another clinic is planned for west Bella Vista. Mercy has also opened clinics in Centerton and downtown Rogers.
The new Springdale clinic will also have an emergency helipad like the Bella Vista clinic. Harper said the 31 acres in Springdale give the health care system more opportunities to expand when the time is right. He said the cost of building a hospital runs two to four times more than constructing a full-service clinic that can do outpatient surgery. He said Mercy is also planning to purchase additional property in east Springdale for a smaller clinic to serve that growing area.
“We should be beginning the search for land in east Springdale in the next 18 months or so,” Harper said.