St. Bernards Announces $130 Million Master Plan Projects That Will Change the Face of Downtown

Published on Thu, December 17, 2015
St. Bernards Announces $130 Million Master Plan Projects That Will Change the Face of Downtown

St. Bernards Medical Center is moving forward on a $130 million master plan that will change the face of downtown Jonesboro.

To be done in four phases, the plan calls for construction that will give St. Bernards a new “front door” on Jackson Avenue and will involve changes and additions to the medical center’s Ben E. Owens Cancer Treatment Center and the Heartcare Center; construction of a new surgical and intensive care tower and a new emergency department configuration with access from Church Street; and renovation and refurbishing of the present medical center structure, including patient rooms.

Work already has begun on the initial phase – that of the cancer center.

When completed, it will bring all components of the St. Bernards cancer service line together in a single facility on the main campus while providing space for future growth. Both radiation oncologists (Drs. John Lynch and John Allgood) and medical oncology/hematology specialists (Drs. Mazen Khalil, Marc Montè and Aamer Farooq) will have offices and clinic space in the same building.

The exterior of the ground level will have a new look, and a covered patient drop off will be added on Jackson Avenue. Interior space will be reconfigured to create an atrium, improve work flow and enhanced patient experience and to allow ample space for continued growth as St. Bernards meets needs within the region.

Square footage will be added to the top level where the medical oncology/hematology clinic and a 27-chair outpatient infusion area will be located. The center also will include a laboratory for blood testing and a chemotherapy pharmacy which will prepare all physician-ordered antineoplastic drugs on site.

Beginning Jan. 4, patients currently being treated at the cancer center will not be able to access the building from Jackson. Rather, they will enter from the ground level in the parking garage.

Phase 1 work is anticipated to take approximately 11 months, with all facets of the cancer treatment center fully functional by October of 2016. Total cost of Phase 1 work will be approximately $9 million.

Phase 2 will include changes at the Heartcare Center that will allow for expansion of invasive services, the addition of both a new electrophysiology lab and a new hybrid lab and renovation of current cardiac catheterization labs.

The first floor of the Heartcare Center will be used for non-invasive cardiac procedures. The second level will house all invasive services, with construction bringing to six the total number of cath and EP labs. The third level – now simply shelled in – will be developed as a 30-unit patient prep and recovery area and a separate family waiting area.

Projected start date is spring of 2016, with completion expected in the winter of 2017. Approximate cost of Phase 2 is expected to be $8 million.

Phase 3 will involve construction that gives St. Bernards a new “front door” and changes the face of downtown Jonesboro. It will include a five-story surgical and intensive care tower that faces Jackson Avenue and new entrances for emergency services with access from Church Street.

The 245,000-square-foot tower will feature entrance into an atrium on the ground level with access to admissions and registration and visitor-friendly amenities such as a coffee shop, education rooms, a chapel, improved wayfinding for families and visitors and support services for surgery and critical care areas.

The first level of the tower will house 14 surgical suites, along with support programs such as pharmacy and the GI Lab.

The second level will house a 40-bed critical care unit.

The third level will be shelled in to allow for future growth and expansion, while the top level will be a mechanical area.

Emergency services will be accessed from Church Street and will have separate entrances for ambulance and ambulatory patients. There will be seven bays for private ambulance service, separate parking for emergency vehicles (such as law enforcement, etc.) and a covered entrance for patients who arrive via private vehicle. That area will include ample private parking for community emergency needs.

A helipad will be built atop the ambulance bay, giving St. Bernards two helicopter landing sites. The present helipad will be used primarily for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and women’s and children’s services patients, while the one at the emergency department will be used mostly for emergency and surgical services.

Total cost of the tower/emergency services project is expected to be about $75 million. Work on Phase 3 will begin with site prep after St. Bernards has access to the Blessed Sacrament school property in the fall of 2016. Work on the tower itself is expected to begin in 2017,with completion in the winter of 2018/19.

The final phase will include renovations within the present medical center, including enhancements of patient rooms, public areas and kitchen and dining areas.

The overall project has been developed in conjunction with HKS, Inc., an architectural firm in Dallas that has designed comprehensive healthcare projects throughout the world.

Nabholz Construction, with a presence in Jonesboro, will serve as contractor.

St. Bernards Medical Center is a 438-bed acute care hospital that serves as a regional referral center for 23 counties in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri, seeing the sickest of the sick patients in the area. It is the only Level III Trauma Center in the region and has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Eastern Arkansas. It was the only medical center in Arkansas to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a 2015 Mission: Lifeline® Receiving Center GOLD PLUS Level facility.

St. Bernards was established in 1900 by the Olivetan Benedictine sisters of Holy Angels Convent to meet needs of residents during a malarial fever epidemic. The hospital – located in a two-story frame building on East Matthews – took its first patients on July 5, 1900, and has served as this area’s trusted provider of comprehensive, compassionate healthcare for more than a century.

St. Bernards Healthcare is the largest employer in Craighead County with approximately 3,000 employees.