Continued growth is the running theme at the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) has it breaks ground on additional student housing located on the ACHE campus in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In March 2015, ACHE broke ground on its first facility, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM). The $32 million, state of the art medical school opened for its first class in 2017. Since then, ARCOM has graduated two classes of physicians and continues to be a driving force in healthcare in the region.
Construction at ACHE didn’t stop with ARCOM. In 2020, ACHE completed construction on its second national awarding-winning educational facility, the College of Health Sciences, which houses the ACHE School of Physical Therapy, ACHE School of Occupational Therapy, and the developing Physician Assistant Studies. The ACHE campus also includes student housing options, The Residents and the Village at Heritage, and the recently dedicated, eight-acre Celebration Garden and Wellness Park. Kyle D. Parker, JD, President and CEO of ACHE stated, “Completed construction on the ACHE campus is $108 million. With our students, faculty and staff, ACHE is providing over $600 million economic impact in this region.”
Current construction on the 542-acre campus includes the fourth phase of student housing. The $30 million build includes 138 apartments located on Chad Colley Boulevard, just south of the ARCOM building.
Parker continued, “We have purposely under-built student housing so the housing market in Fort Smith and the surrounding communities can benefit from the influx of students; however, we have reached the point where we are able to house less than half of our student body. These apartments will provide students with affordable housing within walking distance to their classrooms.”
Construction is also underway at the Village at Heritage, a mixed-use community comprised of retail businesses and student housing across the street from ARCOM. On December 15, 2021, ACHE broke ground on Building C, a 78,000 square-foot, $30 million dollar building.
“The demand for additional student housing, combined with numerous requests from retail merchants to open a location in Heritage expedited the plans for the third building,” explained Les Smith, COO for ACHE. “As we continue to add programs, our need for student housing grows too.”
The ACHE campus also includes third development investors. Smith elaborated, “The campus currently serves as home to the Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital and the Mercy Clinic at Chaffee Crossing. These two businesses, along with several additional planned construction brings another $15M to construction dollars.”
In addition to the ACHE campus in Chaffee Crossing, ACHE is renovating the ACHE Research Institute Health and Wellness Center, located in the former Golden Living facility. ACHE announced a $32.3 million gift to go toward the renovations of the 317,000 square-foot facility. Plans include a teaching kitchen, art galleries, ceramics lab, in addition to Haas Hall Academy, the headquarters for AOG, and the Fort Smith Symphony. A 90,000 square-foot biomedical research laboratory will be located on the fourth floor of RI, making it the largest biomedical research lab for osteopathic schools in the nation.