Hospital commission hosts charrette meeting on upcoming renovations
The Eureka Springs Hospital
won’t be renovated without all stakeholders
having a say in it.
That was the point of the Eureka
Springs Hospital Commission’s
charrette meeting on Thursday, Feb.
1, where the commission heard from
representatives from Bates Architects
about how the renovation process
will go. Chairman Michael Merry
introduced the architects, saying they
were hired to help get a plan together.
“They’re going to come in and
help us put our ideas together and
guide us toward, ultimately, a cost
that we can deal with and move forward
in bringing our hospital up to
standard and keep it that way for the
future,” Merry said.
Diane Adler of Bates Architects
said the project is split into three
work efforts, with her leading the
first two and Tom Johnson being in
charge of the third. Johnson has family
that lives around Eureka Springs
and said he’s excited about being part
of the project.
“Eureka means a whole lot to us,
and we want to see that you guys
have a good hospital,” Johnson said.
“We’re ready to get started.”
Adler said the first work efforts
involve defining the project in terms
of who the major stakeholders are.
That includes hospital commissioners,
Allegiance Health Management
employees and everyone in the community,
“We want to make sure that we
know who the teams are that we need
to be interacting with,” Adler said.
The architects will be working
with the hospital commission, Adler
said, to make sure hospital employees
contribute to the conversation.
“They’ll start getting us information
about how it works today and
how they see it working in the future,
so we can see if there are certain areas
that we need to have an addition or an
enlargement, or if there are other services
that need to be added to serve
the community,” Adler said.
Then, Adler said, the architects
will take that information and create
a list of key needs at the hospital.
“We do have quite a bit of inconsistency
in the way the building is
used and some of the additions that
have been put on, so we’ll make sure
the facility analysis is complete,” Adler
The last phase, she said, is concept
design. That’s where Johnson will
step in. Johnson described the constraints
of a critical access hospital
and said it’s important to be aware of
that during concept design.
“There’s different guidelines
we’re looking at. You must have no
more than 25 in-patient beds,” Johnson
said. “You must have an average
length of stay of 96 hours or less per
The hospital must be renovated,
Johnson said, because it would lose
its critical access status if it got torn
down and another hospital was built
in its place.
“Luckily, you’re a sole community
provider hospital that was upgraded
to a necessary provider critical access
hospital in 2000,” Johnson said.
“You’re grandfathered in. That allows
us to keep critical access status.”
He continued, “You can add on
to the hospital. You can renovate the
hospital, but if you build a hospital
next to it, even if it’s on the same side,
they treat that as a new critical access
hospital. Renovation is your best approach.”
Adler opened the floor for community
input, asking everyone what they
need at the hospital and what they’d
like to see there. Jacqueline Wolven
said she’s had good experiences with
the hospital but would like to see
more services offered for women.
“Fifty-one percent of the population
is women, and we can’t get our
services here,” Wolven said. “I go to
Fayetteville to make that happen, and
that’s fine, but you’re losing out, and
I’m losing out, too. I think this is a really
important piece of the population
that may be underserved.”
Diane Murphy, who owns a real
estate company, said she frequently
answers questions from clients about
the medical services available in Eureka
“We have to say, ‘We have a great
staff. You’ll have to go to Fayetteville
for specialized care,’ ” Murphy said.
“The people that are moving here are
in our age group, and all that matters
Faith Cleveland, who works at
Peachtree Village in Holiday Island,
said she’d love to have more services
available for the elderly patients she
sees every day.
“We are in a very heavily geriatric
area. Holiday Island … people move
there to retire,” Cleveland said. “It’s
hard on them. The last thing they
want to do is get in a car and go all
the way to Rogers.”
Peter Savoy, CEO of the hospital,
said Allegiance Health Management
is working on getting more services
in Holiday Island.
“At the beginning of March, we’re
going to have a physician over in
Holiday Island full time,” Savoy said.
Mayor Butch Berry said he was
born in the hospital and agreed that
more services are needed to serve the
people of Eureka Springs.
“I’ve got all women in my family
and we end up having to go to Rogers
for a lot of exams and emergencies,”
Adler thanked everyone for attending
the meeting. Those who didn’t but
would like to give input can answer a
survey on the city’s website, she said.
To take the survey, visit https://www.
The hospital commission’s next
regular meeting is scheduled for
12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at the
ECHO community meeting room.