Mercy breaks ground for new Springdale clinic

Posted: October 27, 2017 at 1:04 a.m.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAN HOLTMEYER Mercy Northwest Arkansas officials and supporters, including Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse at right, break ground on Mercy's upcoming Springdale clinic on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. The two-story clinic is set to open a little more than a year from now and is part of a system-wide expansion.

SPRINGDALE -- The Shewmaker family of Northwest Arkansas donated $1.5 million toward construction of a 60,000-square-foot Mercy Northwest Arkansas clinic, hospital officials announced Thursday.

Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas president, revealed the donation during a morning ceremony breaking ground on the clinic, which will stand near Interstate 49 and Elm Springs Road. The clinic includes an emergency department and dozens of exam rooms for primary and specialty care.

The Shewmaker family includes Dan Shewmaker, a retired Air National Guard colonel and Mercy board member. Shewmaker's late father, Jack, was a longtime Wal-Mart executive. The $1.5 million will go to a fundraising campaign looking to raise $5 million for the clinic.

The clinic will be a significant expansion of Mercy's footprint in Washington County. The health system, which has its central medical center in Rogers, has a small clinic with one physician and one nurse in Springdale. The new building will be on the 31 acres Mercy bought in September 2016 for $13.6 million. It's expected to be completed late next year.

Pianalto said the clinic will be the largest of seven being built during Mercy's multi-year, $247 million expansion throughout the region.

Several Mercy officials said the priority isn't to compete with other health systems or grab more market, but to meet the growing need for health care in keeping with Mercy's Christian roots. Mayor Doug Sprouse said he deeply appreciated the system's work.

"What Mercy is bringing to Springdale are the things that really matter," Sprouse told a crowd of more than 100.

The groundbreaking comes as Washington Regional Medical Center, Northwest Health and other systems increase services and facilities to serve a rapidly growing population. Arkansas Children's Northwest hospital is set to open in January a couple miles south of Mercy's newest clinic.

NW News on 10/27/2017