Arkansas Children’s announces $318M expansion plan

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,559 views 

Arkansas Children's Northwest in Springdale.

Little Rock-based pediatric healthcare organization Arkansas Children’s is planning a $318 million expansion to increase child healthcare in Arkansas.

The company shared details Friday (May 5) in a news release.

“Pediatric health needs are more complex than ever before, and we are committed to the highest levels of access and health care quality for the children and families across the state,” Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer said. “This plan includes recruiting more than 100 new providers and 400 new team members, adding new programs, and building and modernizing facilities.”

According to the news release, the expansion will begin this summer and last nearly a decade. It will include construction projects at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) in Springdale.

The system-wide expansion plan will expand bed capacity, transform inpatient and outpatient surgical approaches with the addition of an ambulatory surgery center, redesign clinical spaces to promote multidisciplinary care and create an inviting and accessible campus experience.

Polk Stanley Wilcox and Cromwell are the architects of record and Nabholz will be the construction manager for the project.

To finance the expansion, Arkansas Children’s has committed institutional resources to the project, and the board of directors has approved using reserve funds.

Spokeswoman Hilary DeMillo said Arkansas Children’s will also leverage bond proceeds and plans to announce a philanthropic component.

“We are very early in the process and are engaging several work groups and partners in this effort. We will take our time and do this right with our team and with the community,” said Arkansas Children’s COO Jamie Wiggins said. “This has always been the state’s children’s health system and we will honor our partners in this process.”

Planning and engineering teams are finalizing proposals for the enhancements, but estimate 265,000 new square feet of facilities and an additional renovation that spans more than 170,000 square feet.

Detailed schematics will be shared in the fall.

“For more than a century, Arkansas Children’s has written the story of cutting-edge pediatric care, expanding access and delivering excellence as we’ve evolved from an orphanage to a hospital to a pediatric health system,” Doderer said. “We are building the future together in this next chapter in our story. The result will define excellence and deliver a healthier tomorrow for the children of Arkansas and the region.”

The investment comes after significant expansion at the health system’s regional clinics since 2018, adding capacity for specialty care in Jonesboro, opening a primary care clinic in Pine Bluff, opening Arkansas Children’s Northwest and debuting additional care spaces in Springdale.

In 2022, Arkansas Children’s served 169,000 children, an all-time high

Arkansas Children’s employees learned about the project directly from Doderer, who showed a video previewing the project during a series of open town halls.

“Every child deserves to have timely access to great pediatric health care,” said Shannon Hendrix, chief administrator of Arkansas Children’s Northwest. “Expanded services will reach children in every corner of the state and well into the region. These new world-class facilities are where a new generation of care begins.”