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story.lead_photo.caption Texarkana city officials, as well as Wadley Regional Medical Center and Steward Health Care officials, gather for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday at West Park Boulevard and University Avenue in Texarkana, Texas, the site of Wadley's new $227 million hospital, expected to open in 2024. Photo by Andrew Bell / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — Wadley Regional Medical Center broke ground for its new $227 million hospital facility on Wednesday at West Park Boulevard.

Speakers at the ceremonies included Dr. Ralph de la Torre, founder, chairman and CEO of Steward Health Care; Dr. Sanjay Shetty, president of North America Steward Health Care; Tom Gilbert, Wadley Regional Medical Center president; Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman and Texarkana, Arkansas, Mayor Allen Brown.

"This is the first step towards a new future for Wadley," Gilbert said in an opening statement. "All of you who work here and have practiced here realize that this is a monumental day. This new hospital, which will start out humbly at 123 beds, has the ability to grow to 291 as demand increases. Make no mistake — this project today has been because of the dedicated employees and physicians who have continually gone above and beyond every single day to develop the best possible care to the community and have persisted in their support in this new facility over the years."

This is the largest commercial development project in the city's history, according to city officials.

The new hospital will be at the intersection of West Park Boulevard and University Avenue behind Lafferty's Home Center. It is scheduled to open in May 2024. It will feature a medical office building and a full range of hospital services, including a 24/7 emergency room, orthopedics, cardiovascular area, neurosurgery, maternity care and a number of outpatient services.

The new hospital is expected to be 254,000 square feet, and the medical office building should be 143,000 square feet.

Speakers mentioned the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to getting the hospital started but applauded efforts to do so in spite of them.

Shetty said the massive investment will more than pay off for the citizens of Texarkana in the long run.

"The analysis shows that the hospital will have an impact of over $400 million in total contribution to the local economy through contribution to local business, employment and local taxes," Shetty said. "And as this region continues to flourish, its citizens deserve Steward's brand of world-class healthcare at a sustainable cost, creating opportunities for even more investment in the area."

Wadley is a physician-owned and led hospital within Steward Health Care. Steward is based in Dallas, is the nation's largest physician-owned health care network and owns six other hospitals in Texas and one in West Monroe, Louisiana.

Wadley's current location at 1000 Pine St. will remain fully operational while construction is underway. Wadley Regional Medical Center purchased 55 acres north of Interstate 30 about five years ago.

Wadley has served the Texarkana area for about 120 years and has been at the Pine Street location since the late 1950s.

Brown concluded the remarks before the groundbreaking by having all of the Wadley employees stand up as he exclaimed, "Hey Wadley, we're getting a new hospital!"

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