MARCH 28, 2006 | Parents in Northwest Arkansas soon will have a new option for the treatment of their children’s complex medical conditions, thanks to the upcoming Northwest Arkansas Center for Children.
Located in Lowell near Interstate 540, the center is scheduled for completion in March 2007 as an outreach program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). A ceremony marking the start of construction was held on March 20 near the center’s site. Originally scheduled as a groundbreaking ceremony, the event was moved indoors due to inclement weather.
The 34,000-square-foot building will combine the services offered at three UAMS programs: Schmieding Kids First, the Schmieding Developmental Center and subspecialty outreach clinics. Pediatric subspecialists concentrate on treating specific health-related conditions in children and include such areas as pediatric cardiology or pediatric rehabilitation.
Among those at the ceremony were Debra Fiser, M.D., professor and chairwoman of the UAMS Department of Pediatrics and chief of pediatrics for Arkansas Children’s Hospital; Patrick Casey, M.D., medical director of Kids First and the UAMS Harvey and Bernice Jones professor of developmental pediatrics; and Lowell Mayor Phil Biggers.
“This is an exciting day for the parents and children of Northwest Arkansas,” Fiser said. “Our patient numbers have steadily increased over the past several years, and we’ve had to lease larger and larger facilities to keep up with demand. The new building will allow us to combine our services, improve our efficiency and prevent many parents from having to drive to Little Rock for their child’s medical evaluation and advanced treatment.”
Schmieding Kids First is a comprehensive, early-intervention program for infants and young children with medical conditions and developmental delays. UAMS operates 11 Kids First centers across the state. The current Springdale location serves 58 children, with growth expected in the new facility.
The Schmieding Developmental Center provides medical and neuropsychological assessments for children with developmental disorders.
UAMS pediatric subspecialists saw 682 patients in Northwest Arkansas in fiscal year 2005, and the new facility will make it possible for this figure to grow substantially.
“Our long-term plan is to expand the medical specialties we offer in Northwest Arkansas,” Fiser said. Currently, UAMS pediatric subspecialists in cardiology, asthma/pulmonary care and physical medicine/rehabilitation offer services in Northwest Arkansas. A neurology program is expected to be added this year in Fayetteville. Pediatric subspecialists in additional areas will be added after the new facility opens.