Hospital commission hosts charrette meeting on upcoming renovations

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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,

Adler said.

“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

to them.”

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,”

Berry said.

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.

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