A symbolic final beam has been signed and put into place at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith, under construction at 6700 Chad Colley Blvd.
Leaders from Mercy Fort Smith, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE), McCarthy Building Companies and Kindred Healthcare were on hand July 1 to sign the ceremonial final beam. Ground was broken in February for the 58,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to be completed in May.
“A good beginning is of great importance,” said Juli Stec, vice president of operations at Mercy Fort Smith, quoting Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, referencing the "exceptional work that has brought the groups to the special moment when the 'bones' of the building are finished, exposing the strength upon which the rest of the structure will stand."
Mercy Fort Smith is partnering with Louisville, Kentucky-based Kindred Healthcare to build the rehabilitation hospital on land donated by ACHE. The facility will be next to the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine on the ACHE campus and serve as a teaching site for students in ACHE’s School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy.
The new hospital will care for adults recovering from conditions such as stroke, neurological disease, injury to the brain or spinal cord and other debilitating illnesses or injuries. The 50-bed hospital will feature all private rooms; a secured brain injury unit with private dining and therapy gym; large interdisciplinary gyms; transitional living apartment, designed to simulate a residential apartment; therapeutic courtyard with golf, pickle ball and corn hole; specially designed rooms to treat dialysis patients; and specialty programs dedicated to neurological issues, stroke, brain injury and amputation.
Currently, Mercy operates an inpatient rehabilitation facility within Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, 7301 Rogers Ave., that will relocate to the new facility. Around 140 co-workers will be employed at the new hospital, which has a construction cost of about $28 million.
Father Paul Fetsko, vice president of mission at Mercy Fort Smith, blessed the signing of the beam by saying, “The work that we are doing here at this site should enliven our faith and make us grateful. Whenever we look to the interests of our neighbor in the community and serve them, we are in a sense God’s co-workers. Let us pray that God will bring this construction to a successful completion, and that his protection will keep all who work on it safe.”