#9 News Story:Hospital commission moves forward with renovations

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Eureka Springs Hospital Commission has had

a busy year working to start renovations on Eureka

Springs Hospital.

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

possible renovations.

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.

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

for qualifications.

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,”

Murphey said.

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

architects.”

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

choices.

“I’m comfortable with either firm. I think Bates will

give you a functional facility,” Berry said

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