Neuroscience Claims Space at CHI St. Vincent North

A rendering of the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute at CHI St. Vincent North in Sherwood.
A rendering of the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute at CHI St. Vincent North in Sherwood.

The $30 million renovation and construction project at CHI St. Vincent North in Sherwood can’t finish soon enough for Polly Davenport.

The project will move CHI’s Arkansas Neuroscience Institute from Little Rock to St. Vincent North, said Davenport, CHI’s chief operating officer. It also means adding a two-story education building.

The ANI at St. Vincent’s campus in Little Rock has been growing and was running out of room, she said.

“It certainly has met the needs up until now, but for our continued growth, we needed a larger lab and a larger education center,” Davenport said.

CHI St. Vincent decided to create a destination that would include space at CHI’s Sherwood hospital for neuroscience surgery and an education and research building, she said.

The ANI currently educates and trains more than 200 medical professionals annually. “This education research component is just going to further advance neurosurgery in the country and probably across the globe,” she said.

CHI St. Vincent North also will gain more than 100 positions because of the ANI expansion, increasing the total number of employees at that hospital to more than 300.

The ANI’s five physicians now perform more than 1,000 surgeries a year. “We anticipate doing about 2,000 surgeries at our north campus in the next couple of years,” Davenport said. Another ANI surgeon is expected to be added soon.

The move also will allow ANI’s program to expand its services to include epilepsy surgery and surgery for movement disorders.

“We believe that by having all of our neuroscience services in one location we’re going to create efficiencies,” Davenport said.

The 69-bed CHI St. Vincent North is being renovated to handle the neuroscience procedures. The renovation cost and new furnishings total $13 million. She said it also made sense to move ANI to Sherwood because CHI’s hospital there wasn’t at full capacity.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017, CHI St. Vincent North had an occupancy rate of 28.1 percent. It also had $2.3 million net income on $31.2 million in net patient revenue for that fiscal year.

Once the project is complete, the hospital will have 10 beds for neuroscience procedures and a renovated operating room and pharmacy, Davenport said.

The hospital will continue to care for all patients, but the workers at the hospital will be trained in neurosurgical and neurology procedures.

The contactor for the renovation is Nabholz Corp. of Conway. Work is expected to be completed in late fall, Davenport said.

The groundbreaking for the two-story education building took place in April, and construction is expected to be completed in early spring. The education and research center will have a 150-seat auditorium, lab facilities, a conference room and space for more growth.

“It will be very much a learning environment,” Davenport said. “Many patients come to us because they’ve been told it’s not possible to do surgery. So this education and research component is just going to further advance neurosurgery.”

The building also includes space for doctor’s offices. The price of the building is $17 million.

CHI’s parent company, Catholic Health Initiatives of Englewood, Colorado, is paying for most of the project, Davenport said. CHI St. Vincent has raised $3 million of its $4 million fundraising goal to help pay for the project. It also has received grant money for the project.

The developer of the building is NexCore Group of Denver. The architect is Taggart Architects Inc. of North Little Rock, and Clark Contractors LLC of Little Rock is the contractor.