The White River Health System on Wednesday announced that it has asked the Batesville City Council to close one block of Broad Street between Sidney and 15th Street and an unused alley between lots the hospital owns to make way for an expansion.
The council heard the first reading of the ordinance authorizing the street and alley closure; the second reading is on its July 11 agenda.
A cost estimate for the project has not been finalized, the hospital said.
WRHS owns all the adjacent property and plans to use the site for the construction of a 40,000-SF medical office building dedicated to bone and joint health. The hospital expects to add 50 employees when the facility opens in 2018.
It will include offices for four orthopaedic surgeons, medical imaging and other services to create a comprehensive outpatient orthopaedic center. If approved, construction is expected to begin later this summer.
The opening in 2018 will coincide with the arrival of a fourth orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Wes Greer. He will join the offices of Drs. J.D. Allen, Jeff Angel and Dylan Carpenter at the planned MPOC Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic on the Batesville campus.
There is not enough space in the current clinic for four doctors, and they will all be moved to the new building, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The new two-story building will have a musculoskeletal center with imaging and related services on the first floor. The design and services of the second floor have not been finalized.
"Growth is a step to a better future for our patients, our employees, and our community," CEO/Administrator Gary Bebow said in a news release. "This growth contributes to the overall health of our local economy and contributes to Batesville’s vision as a regional hub in north central Arkansas."
The architect for the project is Polk, Stanley, Wilcox, though the design has not been finalized. A contractor has not been hired yet.
Also, Bebow in an email to Arkansas Business wrote, "The proposed site is the best choice for adding medical office space to our campus as the WRHS medical community grows. WRHS is excited about the growth brought on by its affiliation agreement with UAMS and commencement of physician residency training programs in internal medicine and family medicine."
"Creating a center dedicated to bone and joint health allows WRHS to address the outpatient orthopaedic needs of patients of all ages by combining our orthopaedic surgeon offices with medical imaging and other outpatient services," he wrote.
WRHS is Batesville's largest employer, with more than 1,000 employees on it campus there and 1,700 system-wide.