WRMC hopes to expand campus

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The city of Batesville held a public hearing Tuesday, to consider a request from the White River Medical Center to close off a city street in order to expand their campus.

Mayor Rick Elumbaugh of Batesville says the White River Medical Center is looking to close off one block of Broad Street between Sidney and 15th Street for expansion of the WRMC campus.

Elumbaugh said White River Medical Center owns all the adjacent property on Broad Street. They plan to use the site to construct a 40,000 square foot Medical Office building dedicated to their bone and joint health department. However, Elumbaugh says the campus is just about to max. He says White River Medical Center employs around 1,700.

Having the new expansion will also help create new jobs, Elumbaugh said.

"It's almost two blocks," he said. "And they have purchased this. This use to be where homes were located and they have purchased the homes; I'm sure all but one and this allows them to expand their campus. And that's very important to them and to our citizens of Independence County, because this is our healthcare and this is the hub. The city of Batesville is."

Elumbaugh said they already had their first reading this week. However, he says they could possibly pass this proposal on the second reading if there's no opposition.

Elumbaugh also said they plan to have a second reading of the ordinance on July 11th.

If the council approves the expansion project, the White River Medical Center hopes to begin construction late this summer.  

WRMC also said the project is expected to be completed in 2018.

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