#9 News Story:Hospital commission moves forward with renovations
The Eureka Springs Hospital Commission has had
a busy year working to start renovations on Eureka
The commission agreed to work on the renovations
with Allegiance Health Management, the company
that runs the hospital, at a meeting in March. Chairman
Michael Merry said June 21 that Allegiance expressed
willingness to spend $8 million on the project,
saying Allegiance had a list featuring several different
Merry said he would work with Allegiance to be
sure the city isn’t on the hook for the cost of renovations.
One way to ensure that, Merry said, would
be for Allegiance to sign an assurety bond making the
company pay for the renovations no matter what happens
in the future.
The commission voted Aug. 21 to send out a request
for bids in the Carroll County News and the Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette for the project, with the bids being
opened Oct. 16. Mayor Butch Berry said five architectural
firms sent in packets containing their qualifications
and references, saying there weren’t any bad
seeds in the batch.
“They’re all quality firms. They all have good qualifications,”
Berry said he narrowed it
down to the two firms closest to
Eureka Springs: Morrison Architecture
and Bates Architects.
Both firms would do a good job
for the commission, Berry said.
Berry recommended that the
commission interview representatives
from both firms to make a
decision, saying it’s too close to
call judging only by the request
The commission heard from both firms on Nov. 13.
and agreed on Nov. 15 to hire Bates Architects and
Johnson Architecture for the job. Commissioner Barbara
Dicks said she had a problem with Morrison Architecture
after the way the firm handled the new high
school project in 2013.
“I didn’t like their presentation. They showed us all
the drawings they did on Passion Play Road and Ramada
Inn and out here and not much about what to do
today on our hospital,” Dicks said.
On the other hand, Dicks said, Bates Architects flew
a drone around the hospital and laid out several different
options for the renovations.
“I really think they had done their homework,”
Dicks said. “They also talked to the people in the hospital
and asked them their problems and what was happening
with them, and the other firm didn’ t do that.”
Commissioner Leva Murphey said she had nothing
personal against Morrison Architecture.
“Both presentations were professionally done,”
She reached out to other people who hired the firms,
Murphey said, and found that Bates Architects follow
projects from start to finish.
“When it came to the different stages of the project,
Bates people were there all the way down the line,
even to the point of interceding with the contractors
when there was an issue in order to get money back
from the contractors because the work was not up to
par,” Murphey said. “With the other firm, those kind
of things hadn’t happened. Any work that was unsatisfactory
hadn’t been addressed with the help of the
The commission voted, with Dicks, Walling, Murphey
and House voting for Bates Architects and Johnson
Architecture. Sell voted for Morrison Architecture
and Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. Berry said he was
happy with the decision, saying both firms were good
“I’m comfortable with either firm. I think Bates will
give you a functional facility,” Berry said