UAMS West Breaks Ground On $10.5 Million Building in Fort Smith

By Ben Boulden

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Rahn addresses the audience at UAMS West before breaking ground on construction nearby.

State legislators, local dignitaries, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., and UAMS officials wearing hard hats broke ground on the project that will create a new, 30,000-square-foot Family Medical Center at UAMS West. The new facility will provide space for the growth and enhancement of patient care programs and medical education.

One block from the current facility at 612 S. 12th St., the new building will provide UAMS patients, residents and staff with a state-of-the-art outpatient clinic that includes 48 examination rooms, x-ray facilities, a laboratory, procedure areas, patient counseling rooms and a children’s immunization area.

The new Fort Smith Family Medical Center will be located three blocks from Sparks Regional Medical Center, the teaching hospital affiliated with UAMS West.

“This new modern, efficient facility will help us accomplish our patient-centered goals and increase and enhance our medical education programs” said Don Heard, Ed.D., M.B.A., UAMS West center director.

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Concept art for the new UAMS Family Medical Center in Fort Smith stands to the right of a line of shovels and hard hats at the building site.

In addition to Rahn and Heard, other dignitaries at the groundbreaking included Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders; Dan McKay, Sparks Health System CEO; Jeremy Drinkwitz, Sparks chief operating officer;  Tim Hill, vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Programs; Mark Kenneday, UAMS vice chancellor for campus operations; and other state and local officials.

The construction is scheduled to be complete in 10 months. The architects are Witsell, Evans, Rasco of Little Rock, working in collaboration with HDR of Dallas, Texas. The general contractor is Kinco Constructors of Little Rock.

Once the new facility is completed, UAMS West will remodel sections of its building at 612 S. 12th St. to accommodate administrative, financial, and education needs. It has been at that location since 1992. It expanded there in 2007 and purchased a small, 4,500-square-foot clinic in 2011.

The remodeling project is expected to take four months and will be completed sometime in 2017. Together, the two projects — the new building and the remodeling — will more than double the interior space available for UAMS West, providing growing room for the next 15-20 years.

“UAMS West and the Family Medical Center are showing here today that their commitment to patients, enhancing the patient experience and improving health outcomes will continue long into the future,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “From our Little Rock campus to Fort Smith, UAMS is working to improve patient care for all Arkansans for a better state of health.”

Fort Smith Family Medical Center provides primary care medical services to patients of all ages. The center also offers pediatric and obstetrical care, as well as treatment of immediate medical needs and ongoing management of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and arthritis. The clinic provides convenient diagnostic and support services on site and minor surgical procedures.

It serves 13 Arkansas counties: Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Perry, Polk, Montgomery, Pope, Sebastian, Scott and Yell.

Through its programs operating at UAMS West and the university’s other regional centers, UAMS trains medical residents in family medicine while providing clinical care and health education services around the state. UAMS West trains 28 residents in the three-year program.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.