Fort Smith Announces Capital Projects Plan

August 30, 2011

St. Edward Mercy to make $192 million investment over seven years.

More than 100 people gathered at

a second St. Edward Mercy community

roundtable to discuss the future of

health care in Fort Smith.

St. Edward Mercy announced plans Thursday night to spend more than $192 million in capital projects and equipment in the Fort Smith area over the next seven years.  The announcement came at the latest in a series of community roundtable meetings held by Mercy. The meeting was a follow-up to last year’s community roundtable, where area leaders discussed community health needs.

"We took all that information and spent the last year trying to analyze how to best meet the needs of the community," said Jeff Johnston, St. Edward Mercy president/CEO. “Now we are happy to come back to the community and share the initiatives we’ve put in place and the plans we’ve made to continue to grow the availability of health care in our area.”

Some of the capital expansion plans include:

  • A new Mercy Clinic Primary Care clinic to be built on Dallas Street just east of Mercy Fitness Center.  Construction on the 12,977 square foot clinic is set to be complete in late 2012.The 12,977 sq. ft. facility will house up to 10 primary care physicians and include 28 exam rooms as well as onsite lab and x-ray services.
  • An expanded patient treatment area on the first floor of the Hembree Cancer Center on the St. Edward Mercy campus. This also includes room for the addition of a new linear accelerator. This cancer fighting tool will enable radiation oncologists to better target radiation treatment to the affected cells, while sparing damage to tissue near the tumor. 
  • Initial planning and design work to begin this fiscal year for the construction of a new orthopedic hospital at the Mercy Clinic River Valley Musculoskeletal Center site
  • In Waldron, the expansion of Mercy Clinic primary care offices to accommodate three more clinical providers in 2012.
  • At Mercy Fitness Center, renovations to the swimming pool area as well as refinishing the surface of the pool and upgrading of the overall member environment.

“The plan represents a commitment of $4.8 billion across the four states,” Britton said. “About $400 million of that total is in Arkansas, so Fort Smith will be getting about half of the investment for the state.”

Mercy Health System has 28 hospitals and more than 200 outpatient facilities across Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas.  Plans are in place to spend about $4.8 billion dollars on capital improvements across the system over the next ten years. About $400 million of that is in Arkansas.

“The demand for health care is growing and the population is aging, and as they age they need more resources, so we’ve got to be responsive to that demand,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy Health System.

 “We must keep up with the challenge by expanding along with the need.  We are pleased to be able to make this kind of investment in health care across the four states Mercy serves.”

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