EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final installment of a four-part series Decoding the Decade examining the community's successes and growth. Today's installment highlights advancements in the medical community.
Minton's Sportsplex completes $7 million-plus expansion
In late March, then-Minton's Sportsplex completed a 19-month, $7 million-plus, multi-phase expansion project. The center occupied 6 1/2 acres and includes a 45,000-square-foot fitness and sports building, ball fields, courts, pools and parking. A separate 20,000-square-foot infant care/health and wellness preschool/after-school building is also on site.
Wadley breaks ground
on senior center
Wadley Regional Medical Center broke ground on the Wadley Senior Center at Jefferson Avenue and Trinity Boulevard in Texarkana, Ark.
It took about six months to build the 7,400-square-foot center.
The center was fitted with 11 exam rooms, general X-ray and lab capabilities. The staff included a certified geriatrician, two nurse practitioners, a dietitian and a social worker to help seniors and their families understand changing health care needs.
"We analyzed the demographics of Texarkana and segments of the population, and that revealed to us the fastest growing segment of the population in Texarkana is literally the 55 and older group," said Tom Gilbert, Wadley president and CEO, at the time.
The clinic will see between 40 and 50 people per day, Gilbert estimated.
The location for the clinic was chosen because it offers several advantages.
"We looked for a place that was easy to locate, that had room to navigate, that wasn't as congested as you might see, and we also kind of looked at demographic patterns of where people might live, and this general area came up," Gilbert said. "It's a growing area and I think it's poised for the future."
Garden is dedicated
CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System blessing and dedicated its newly constructed Serenity Garden. The garden was designed as a place for patients, family members and CHRISTUS St. Michael associates to visit for peace and healing. The garden, which is between the hospital and the professional building, has a gazebo, water feature, flagstone benches and flowers.
The focal point of the garden is The Hope monument, a bronze sculpture by artist Beverly Paddleford that embodies the system's mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
HealthCARE Express expands
HealthCARE Express celebrated the completion of its $2.5 million expansion at its Richmond Road clinic. The 16,000-square-foot expansion houses its pain-management program, including physical therapy, the billing department and administrative offices.
"A lot of this we were outsourcing to other agencies," said Angela Evans, HealthCARE Express director of community relations. "We saw there was a need, and we just wanted to be able to better serve the community."
With the expansion, HealthCARE Express was also able to add MRI, CT scan and ultrasound capabilities, making services more accessible to its patients.
Eight to 10 positions were created by the expansion.
Texarkana Emergency Center opens its doors
Texarkana Emergency Center, the area's first freestanding emergency department, opened its doors at 4646 Cowhorn Creek. The emergency center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has 14 treatment rooms, including two triage rooms.
"We've got everything that a hospital-based emergency department has but how we're going to set ourselves apart is decreasing the wait time and increasing patient satisfaction," said Dr. Matt Young, medical director and owner, said at the time.
Young said the goal is for patients to be seen within minutes of their arrival. "Most patients will be seen by the physician within 10 minutes," he said. "Then they're going to be in a room within minutes of that."
Employment was projected at about 40 jobs.
TMC has digital X-ray, ultrasound and CT, a full clinical lab and more.
Hospital purchases land near I-30
Wadley Regional Medical Center purchased 55 acres north of Interstate 30 near Gander Mountain. The land was purchased through Seaboard Development on behalf of Wadley Regional Medical Center. Future development, including a new location for the main hospital, has not been determined.
"We did purchase the land just to provide us another option for future development," said Shelby Brown, director of marketing for Wadley, at the time.
She described the location as one that was growing.
For many months, the purchase was the talk of the town, many making the assumption the Wadley move was a done deal, and other health care providers jockeying for position.
"We don't know what that means yet and we're still in the planning phase," Brown said at the time. "The purchase of the property is phase one."
Four and a half years later, phase two has yet to unfold.
Hospice inpatient center opens
The $5.5 million, 22,000-square foot Hospice of Texarkana Inpatient Center at 2407 Galleria Oaks Drive opened June 1, 2016. It has 12 patient rooms.
"This is intensive care for hospice patients who have very distressing symptoms that are not managed in another setting," said Lisa Roach, nurse practitioner and palliative care coordinator, at the time.
Family and patient comfort was the focus while designing the inpatient center. The center includes a chapel, theater/ coffee shop, family room, meditation garden, walking paths, children's playroom and a shower and laundry for families who stay with their loved ones who are patients.
Donors contributed $2.8 million in support for the center with $45,000 of that coming from Hospice employees.
$6 million family
medical center opens
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Southwest moved its Family Medical Center from its original location at East Sixth Street to its new location at 3417 U of A Way, near the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana, Ark.
The need for a new clinic, designed to improve patient care for people from all over the Four States region, prompted the opening of this new $5.8 million Family Medical Center in January 2016. Both the UAMS All for Kids Pediatric Clinic, as well as UAMS Neighborhood Clinic, continued to operate at the original East Sixth Street building.
HealthCARE Express buys fitness center
HealthCARE Express announced finalization of the purchase of Minton's Sportsplex, a comprehensive fitness center in Texarkana, Texas.
"The main reason this was a good move for us is we care about our patients, not just when they're sick," said Angela Evans, HealthCARE Express director of community education. "We care about their well-being It just seemed to be the perfect mix to add onto what we're already doing."
The Sportsplex includes a 40,000-square-foot fitness and sports center, which includes a 25-yard lap pool, themed water park recreational pool, beach volleyball courts and basketball courts. The fitness center is 31,000 square feet and is equipped with top-of-the line gear. The 15,000-square-foot family recreation center includes basketball and volleyball courts, play structures, an arcade, youth fitness area and a concession area.
HealthCARE Express has grown in the past several years, opening new urgent care locations in Northeast Texas, Arkansas and Choctaw, Okla., and the Escape to Bliss Spa in Texarkana, Texas.
City officials set up rules for medical marijuana growers, sellers and users
Within months of Arkansans' November 2016 vote to legalize medical marijuana, Texarkana set rules—and a price—for prospective cannabis businesses in the city.
In July, the Texarkana, Ark., Board of Directors approved an ordinance setting fees for dispensaries that will sell medical marijuana, and cultivation centers that will grow it.
Cultivation centers will pay the city an initial business license fee of $50,000 and thereafter $50,000 a year for renewal. Medical marijuana dispensaries will pay $7,500 for an initial license and $11,250 for renewal.
While six medical marijuana businesses applied to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to operate in Miller County, Ark., including four within Texarkana's city limits, none were accepted by the commission.
Two medical marijuana dispensaries will open here—likely within days. One on Interstate 30 and the other on U.S. Highway 67 on the edge of town.
Medical marijuana is illegal in Texas and thus Texarkana, Texas.
The board also changed city zoning ordinance regarding medical marijuana businesses, adding relevant definitions, adopting state restrictions on the businesses' signage and defining the zones where they may operate.
Before the vote in July, Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell said she was against legalizing medical marijuana generally, but recognized the need for the city to be ready now that voters statewide have decided to allow it.
"We cannot do one thing about it," she said. "We can just be prepared,"