A list of the state’s largest commercial construction projects shows that three of those projects are in Monticello. Drew Memorial Hospital’s $11.4 million expansion, the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s $5.5 mllion Forest Resources Annex, and the Monticello Economic Development Commission’s $4.1 million Ridgeway Apartment project for the elderly are among the largest projects in the state.
The Drew Memorial Hospital expansion is funded through a low-interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture, a supplemental loan from local banks, and hospital revenue. The project includes the construction of an allied health building and a nursing wing with private inpatient rooms. The 24,000 square-foot allied health building will include a conference and training room, space for occupational and physical therapy, a hematology and oncology clinic, psychology clinic, sleep center, and shell space for future expansion. The project also includes a 24,000 square-foot, 49-bed inpatient nursing wing, and additional parking.
The new 15,000 square-foot UAM Forest Resources annex will house classrooms, laboratories and offices on two floors. The original 54-year-old building in the Henry H. Chamberlin Forest Resources Complex will receive a complete interior renovation and a new roof, and the north wing of the complex, completed in 1987, will receive minor renovations. Spaces included in the new building and the renovated buildings will include five research labs, two teaching labs, four computer labs, conference and meeting spaces, offices, classrooms, an administrative suite, information technology suite, student lounge, a two-story glass atrium, and a suite of offices for the U.S. Forest Service.
The complex is being named in honor of the late George H. Clippert, a long-time benefactor of the university’s School of Forest Resorces. Clippert’s widow, Maxine Clippert, donated $1.2 million for the project. In addition to Clippert’s gift to the university, Gov. Mike Beebe contributed $2 million from the governor’s portion of the General Improvement Fund while the state House and Senate, through the efforts of state Sens. Jimmy Jeffress and Jerry Taylor, state Reps. Robert Moore and Eddie Cheatham, former state Reps. Allen Maxwell, Gregg Reep, and David Rainey, provided $2.7 million over two legislative sessions. Those funds include money for equipment and furnishings.
The $4.1 million Ridgeway project called for the renovation of an 80-year-old hotel and adjacent buildings into a 32-unit apartment complex for low-income senior citizens and revitalize a declining part of the city. The project was funded through a $700,00 Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) loan at one percent interest, a no interest ADFA loan for $500,000 and federal stimulus money.
Arkansas cities with five or more projects in the list of the state’s largest commercial projects are Little Rock with 19, Jonesboro with nine, Fayetteville with eight, and Jacksonville with five. Batesville, Bryant and Conway each have four projects in the list, while Monticello, Hot Springs, and North Little Rock each have three. Bentonville, Clarksville, Maumelle, Paragould, Rogers, Springdale and West Memphis, each have two, according to Arkansas Business.