Arkansas Children's Hospital Opens $121 Million South Wing

Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock opened its $121 million South Wing Wednesday morning.

The 258,000-SF expansion was the largest construction project in the hospital's 100-year history.

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 units. It also will add 54 inpatient beds to the hospital.

One of the features of the expansion is the green space and indoor atrium on the third floor that has playground equipment.

Jon Bates, ACH's president and CEO, said at the opening that the building will help the children heal faster because of its bright colors and natural lighting.

"We talk about cabin fever happening for people in hospitals and this is a way to counteract that," Bates said.

About 400 people attended the grand opening, including Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who announced Wednesday that he was running for governor.

Donors to the ACH $160 million Century of Possibility Campaign have given more $24 million to the South Wing project.

The South Wing will start seeing patients in July.

"It's a 21st-century children's hospital," David Berry, chief operating officer of ACH, told Arkansas Business in May.

See: Arkansas Children's Hospital South Wing Ready for Kids