New hospital process rolling along

New hospital process rolling along

Construction on Baptist Memorial- Crittenden expected to start in July

The county has sent out requests for qualifications for architects to build the new Baptist hospital.

County attorney Joe Rogers said they sent out requests on Friday and are hoping to get an architect selected some time in May.

“The procedure is you select three and then you start negotiating with those three in order of priority that you pick them and come up with a price for architectural services,” Rogers said.

Baptist Memorial Health Care has committed to build a new $25 million, 50,000 square foot, 15-to-20 bed hospital in West Memphis to fill the void left by Crittenden Regional Hospital which went bankrupt in August 2014.

The cost to build the hospital will be covered by a one cent tax which voters overwhelmingly approved which will generate about $30 million a year over the next five years.

Baptist is the largest private health care provider in the region with over 2,000 beds.

The $2 billion non-profit health care system operates 14 hospitals in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi and has over 4,500 affiliated physicians. Its flagship hospital is the 750 bed Baptist Memorial in Memphis.

Rogers said Baptist gave them a list of six or seven qualified architects to send proposals out to.

“The idea is to have those qualifications in by May 1 and then start the process of trying to select three and hopefully get a contract with them,” Rogers said.

The new facility will be built on 15 acres along Seventh Street and the interchange of I-55 and I-40.

Construction is slated to start in July 2016 and will open in Jan. 2018.

By Mark Randall