LITTLE ROCK, AR. (May 5, 2023) – Arkansas Children’s will embark on its most ambitious clinical expansion later this summer as part of its strategic plan to deliver unprecedented child health in Arkansas. The project focuses on delivering better access, exceptional outcomes and improved on-campus experiences at the state’s nationally-ranked pediatric health system.
“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,” said Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer, FACHE. “This plan includes recruiting more than 100 new providers and 400 new team members, adding new programs, and building and modernizing facilities.”
The growth will happen over the next eight years and will require nearly $318 million in investment for construction at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) in Springdale. The system-wide expansion plan will expand bed capacity, transform inpatient and outpatient surgical approaches with the addition of an ambulatory surgery center, redesign clinical spaces to promote multidisciplinary care and create an inviting and accessible campus experience.
Polk Stanley Wilcox and Cromwell are the architects of record and Nabholz will serve as the construction manager for the project.
“We are very early in the process and are engaging several work groups and partners in this effort. We will take our time and do this right with our team and with the community,” said Jamie Wiggins, Ph.D., MBA, RN, FACHE, Arkansas Children’s Chief Operating Officer. “This has always been the state’s children’s health system and we will honor our partners in this process.”
Planning and engineering teams are finalizing proposals for the enhancements, but estimate 265,000 new square feet of facilities and an additional renovation that spans more than 170,000 square feet.
Detailed schematics will be shared in the fall.
“For more than a century, Arkansas Children’s has written the story of cutting-edge pediatric care, expanding access and delivering excellence as we’ve evolved from an orphanage to a hospital to a pediatric health system,” said Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer, FACHE. “We are building the future together in this next chapter in our story. The result will define excellence and deliver a healthier tomorrow for the children of Arkansas and the region.”
The investment comes after significant expansion at the health system’s regional clinics since 2018, adding capacity for specialty care in Jonesboro, opening a primary care clinic in Pine Bluff, opening Arkansas Children’s Northwest and debuting additional care spaces in Springdale.
In 2022, Arkansas Children’s served 169,000 children - more children than ever before - and the need for service continues to grow.
Team members learned about the project directly from Doderer, who showed a video previewing the project during a series of open town halls. “I’ve worked in this organization for decades and I think we have always tried to listen to the community and meet the needs of our patients and families,” said Lea Woodrow, a 45-year veteran nurse and team member. “It’s hard to put into words how excited I am that we are moving in this direction. It will be such a difference maker.”
“Every child deserves to have timely access to great pediatric health care,” said Shannon Hendrix, MS, RD, LD, FACHE, chief administrator of Arkansas Children’s Northwest. “Expanded services will reach children in every corner of the state and well into the region. These new world-class facilities are where a new generation of care begins.”
The announcement video can be accessed at archildrens.org/expansion.