Arkansas Children's Hospital announced Friday that it is building an approximately $100 million children's hospital in Springdale that is projected to be open in early 2018.
ACH's President and CEO Marcy Doderer told Arkansas Business that the hospital is part of its "statewide network of care," which was also announced Friday. The network of care will attempt to bring children's health care services closer to where they live.
She said expecting families to come to Little Rock "to get access to most of their care for kids is not an acceptable answer for the long term."
Doderer said ACH is also assessing other areas of Arkansas for children's services.
"This is the first piece of what will be a very complex puzzle to put together on how you improve health and health care access for kids across our state," Doderer said.
She said ACH expects to make another announcement by the middle of the fall that will be targeted toward patients in south Arkansas.
ACH's Springdale hospital will sit on 37 acres near Interstate 49 and across from the Arvest Ballpark, the home field for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
She said she expects an architectural and engineering firm to be hired soon. Construction is projected to start in the spring of 2016.
She said the total cost of the hospital, including the furnishings and operating costs for five years is expected to be $184 million. ACH will launch a fundraising campaign to raise more than $70 million for the project. ACH will also use its own money and borrow the rest.
Gary and Robin George, and Gary George's sister and brother-in-law, Cathy and David Evans, donated the 37 acres for the hospital. Gary George is the chairman of the poultry company, George's Inc. of Springdale.
"Both of our families have had children treated [at ACH]," Gary George told Arkansas Business on Friday.
ACH is "just a great institution … not only for the kids but how they treat the families," he said. "Several years ago, we, as a family, said if they ever wanted to come up here, we would want to do this."
He said the family started talking with ACH in the last year.