Arkansas Children's on Friday revealed plans for a $318 million system-wide expansion that calls for hundreds of new employees, new programs and construction of new facilities.
The system said the eight-year project, its largest ever, is focused on improving access, patient outcomes and the on-campus experiences at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock and Arkansas Children's Northwest in Springdale. The project will increase bed capacity, transform inpatient and outpatient surgical approaches through a new ambulatory surgery center, and redesign clinical spaces to promote multidisciplinary care.
Planning and engineering teams are finalizing proposals for the project, Arkansas Children's said in a news release. An estimated 265,000-SF of space will be added for new facilities. Another 170,000-SF of space is set to be renovated.
Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects and Cromwell Architects Engineers, both of Little Rock, are the designers on the project. Nabholz Construction of Conway is the lead contractor.
"We will take our time and do this right with our team and with the community," Jamie Wiggins, Arkansas Children’s chief operating officer, said in the release. "This has always been the state’s children’s health system and we will honor our partners in this process."
The plan includes hiring more than 500 new employees, including 100 new providers.
The project is being funded in part with the system's reserve funds, Arkansas Children's spokeswoman Hilary DeMillo said. The system also plans to leverage bond proceeds and announce a philanthropic component "once we have had deep conversations with our community and supporters about our plans," she said.
Arkansas Children's in 2021 completed a six-year capital campaign that raised $274 million, surpassing its goal of $250 million.
During the campaign, Arkansas Children's Northwest opened its $167 million, 230,000-SF campus in Springdale and the system opened a $14.5 million, 9,700-SF pediatric clinic in Pine Bluff. It also expanded services to all 75 counties and renovated its Kim and Chris Fowler Center in Jonesboro.
Speaking of the system's latest project, Arkansas Children's President and CEO Marcy Doderer said, "Pediatric health needs are more complex than ever before and we are committed to the highest levels of access and health care quality for the children and families across the state."
Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock has grown over the past 100-plus years from an orphanage into a 2 million-SF hospital with 336 beds and more than 500 doctors, 200 residents and 4,400 support staffers.
Major expansions include $14.5 million project completed in 1982 that doubled the hospital's size.
Arkansas Children’s in 2022 served 169,000 children.