Arkansas Children's Hospital South Wing Ready for Kids

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, May. 28, 2012 12:00 am  

David Berry, chief operating officer of Arkansas Children's Hospital: "It's a 21st-century children's hospital." (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

(Video: David Berry of Arkansas Children's Hospital talks about what to expect from the new South Wing.)

On June 13, Arkansas Children’s Hospital of Little Rock is scheduled to unveil its largest construction project in its 100 year history — a 258,000-SF, $121 million South Wing.

The four-story addition connects to the existing hospital and will offer a nearly 30,000-SF emergency department, an outpatient clinic for patients with cancer and blood diseases and an expanded neonatal intensive care unit.

“It’s a 21st-century children’s hospital,” David Berry, chief operating officer of ACH, said last week.

The original construction value was $85 million, but the general contractor, Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway, and the architects, Cromwell Architects Engineers of Little Rock, were able to trim building costs to $75 million, Berry said. The bulk of the balance was spent on furnishing the addition.Construction started in September 2008, just as the economy was starting to tank. The project came at the right time for Nabholz.

“In an economy that’s been down, for us to have that project meant tons for our company,” said Bill Hannah, CEO of Nabholz. “We desperately needed work, as most contractors did, and it was a big boon for us to have that project.”

Nabholz is No. 1 on the Arkansas Business list of largest commercial contractors, which is ranked by revenue. For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 29, Nabholz reported $544 million in revenue, an increase of 25.6 percent increase over its 2010 fiscal year.

In addition, the South Wing project kept construction workers busy, Hannah said. At peak construction times, about 250 workers were on the site.

Last week, an army of workers were putting the finishing touches on the project. Patients are expected to start using the building at the end of June or the first week of July.

Berry also said about 100 additional workers would be hired to staff the addition.

The timing, so fortuitous for Nabholz, is not so ideal for ACH. It is unclear what the South Wing will mean in terms of additional revenue for the hospital.

“The projections we had are probably no longer valid,” Berry said.



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