Mercy Northwest Arkansas Plans $247M Expansion Over 5 Years


Mercy Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday announced a five-year, $247 million expansion project it said will create 1,000 new jobs.

The expansion comes has the system's hospitals and clinics are at "very high capacity," according to Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital's president.

The new jobs will come as a result of the expansion of the Rogers hospital and the addition of new clinics in Benton and Washington counties. The jobs include physicians, advanced practitioners and nurses, according to the hospital.

Elements of the expansion include:

  • A new 190,000-SF patient tower on its Rogers campus that will add more than 100 beds. Construction will begin in December or January.
  • "Multiple" new primary and specialty clinics in Benton and Washington counties. Right now, four are planned: two in Bentonville, one in Pea Ridge and one in west Bella Vista.
  • Enhancements to its specialty care offerings, including at its heart and vascular center and women’s and children’s services.
  • Establishment of a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences community internal medicine residency program in partnership with the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. Mercy said the program will provide training to eight doctors the first year — 24 doctors in three years.

The new elements are in addition to other expansions already under way at its Rogers campus. Those include: 

  • A hybrid cardiac catheterization lab with technology for advanced heart procedures.
  • An interim renovation of the Level IIIA Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
  • Renovation of the 7th floor to add 24 inpatient beds.
  • A 500-space parking lot expansion. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended Wednesday's announcement.

Wayne Callahan, chairman of the Mercy Northwest Arkansas board of directors, said the expansion comes as the hospital aims to "increase access and improve facilities so that we may serve the people of Northwest Arkansas for generations to come."

McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. of St. Louis is the hospital project's general contractor. Bates Architects of Springfield, Missouri, is the architect and Crafton Tull of Rogers is the civil engineer.

Hospital Boom

Mercy's expansion adds to the long list of hospital construction projects in Arkansas. As Arkansas Business reported Monday, spending on health care-related construction projects in the state nearly doubled in 2015 compared with the previous year.

As of November, those projects had a valuation of $312 million compared with $160.6 million at the same time the previous year, according to Arkansas Business’ list of the largest commercial projects that were under construction at the time.

That $312 million figure didn't include several health care-related projects that have since started construction. Arkansas Children's Hospital of Little Rock is in the early stages of building a $167 million hospital in Springdale, which is projected to open in January 2018.

Other hospitals around Arkansas are in various stages of completing renovation projects, including overhauling emergency departments and adding patient towers.

Other projects in northwest Arkansas include a $46 million expansion of Washington Regional Women's Health Center in Fayetteville set to be complete this fall and a $10.5 million UAMS Family Medical Center in Fort Smith set to be complete in January.