Mercy to begin work on new primary care clinic in Fort Smith

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,372 views 

Officials with Mercy Fort Smith and Fort Smith Mayor George McGill gathered on a cold Wednesday (Nov. 16) to break ground on a $3.6 million primary care clinic at 4600 Towson Ave., which is expected to open in late 2023.

The clinic is a long-awaited replacement for a Mercy clinic on the former Phoenix Village Mall property damaged by a May 2019 tornado. The new clinic is also on the former mall property, with Mercy leasing the site from Beaty Capital Group, the company that renovated and now manages the former mall property.

With initial staffing of eight, including one physician, the clinic will be about 6,200 square feet and provide primary care services, including wellness exams, flu shots and other vaccines, and X-ray and lab services. Mercy plans to add three more physicians to the clinic staff. Construction is expected to begin soon, and new patients will be accepted when the clinic opens.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Mercy to provide a primary care location that will be convenient for our patients. We are very eager to establish this clinic as a replacement for the facility we lost in 2019,” Dr. David Hunton, president of Mercy Clinic Fort Smith, said in a statement. “Our goal is to provide easy access to state-of-the-art services for our patients, and we believe this new clinic will do just that. This is an exciting day for all of us.”

Dr. Fareed Kannout, an internal medicine specialist with Mercy, will move his practice to the clinic. He said he and others were at the clinic when the tornado hit, and water began coming through the roof, but no one was hurt.

“This is going to be a new home for my team and me, and we’re looking forward to it very much,” Dr. Kannout noted in a press release.

Mayor McGill, who was joined at the groundbreaking by three members of the Singapore military, said the new clinic is part of a growing number of medical facilities in Fort Smith needed to support ongoing and future growth.

“The River Valley is transforming right before your eyes,” Fort Smith Mayor George McGill said during the groundbreaking. “As we’re transforming and making tremendous strides, it’s being recognized around the world. And having medical facilities is critical to the growth we’re going to experience. In a short time, Towson Avenue is going to be completely rebuilt.”

Ebbing Air Base in Fort Smith, home to the 188th, was selected on June 8, 2021, by acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth to be the long-term pilot training center supporting F-16 and F-35 fighter planes purchased by Singapore, Switzerland and other countries participating in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. A permanent “record of decision” has not yet been made by the Air Force.

Mercy began in February work on an estimated $162 million expansion of the main Fort Smith hospital. Mercy Fort Smith will expand its emergency department from 29 to 50 rooms and boost beds in the intensive care unit from 38 to 64. The work also includes 140 more parking spaces closer to the new ER entrance.