by Lee Hogan
Posted 7/7/2014 02:50 pm
Updated 2 weeks ago
Baptist Health of Little Rock broke ground Monday on a 216,000-SF hospital in Conway.
The campus of Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway will occupy 37 acres at 1455 Exchange Ave., near the Dave Ward Drive exit of Interstate 40.
The hospital is expected to open in 2016 and employ about 425 workers.
In January, Arkansas Business reported Baptist had already spent $10.6 million to acquire the land. The entire project is estimated at $130 million.
Baptist received unanimous approval from the Conway City Council in February for the rezoning of the land from C-4, commercial, to O-1, office.
Monday's groundbreaking was attended by Baptist CEO Troy Wells and Gov. Mike Beebe.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Baptist Health to expand services to the residents of the Conway area," Wells said at the ceremony. "Conway and the surrounding areas deserve the best in healthcare services, and we can't wait to meet their needs in a state-of-the-art facility.
More: Read Baptist Health's press release on the ceremony here
The facility will feature 96 beds, eight operating rooms and a Level III trauma-center emergency room.
Arkansas Business' media partner, THV 11, was at the groundbreaking ceremony. Below is a video from the event.
Conway Regional Exploring CHI St. Vincent Affiliation
As Baptist Health makes plans to enter the Conway market, the only established hospital currently in the fast-growing city, Conway Regional Medical Center, is exploring a possible partnership with CHI St. Vincent.
Arkansas Business reported in May that the Conway Regional Health System Board of Directors planned to enter "exclusive strategic affiliation discussions" with CHI St. Vincent. The discussions and negotiations are expected to take place over the next several months, according to the news release from Conway Regional.
Peter Banko, president and CEO of CHI St. Vincent, told Arkansas Business in April that the proposed partnership would be flexible.
"We don't expect patients to come to Little Rock," Banko said.
As reported by Arkansas Business in June, CHI St. Vincent laid off 91 employees from its operations in Arkansas last month. Seventy-four employees were from its Hot Springs hospital, 14 from its hospitals in Little Rock and North Little Rock and three from its Morrilton location.