UAMS breaks ground on $150m energy project on Arkansas campus

WCN Editorial Team 22 Nov 2019 NORTH AMERICA BUILDINGS

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has broken ground on a $150m energy project on the main campus in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The new energy project includes a $49m electrical power plant, which is estimated to save $4.8m annually.

Over the next three years, the university will construct the new power plant on the east side of the campus, upgrade control systems, interior and exterior lighting, electrical systems, mechanical systems and building infrastructure.

The electrical generator plant will offer 100% back-up power for the university campus, including the cooling system and research facilities. At present, the UAMS West Central Energy Plant generates the back-up power for UAMS inpatient facilities.

UAMS chancellor Cam Patterson said: “Moving forward with this work, we are seeing to the health of the university’s physical plant, so UAMS can continue to focus vigorously on the health of Arkansans, the education of its students and the innovation of its researchers.

“Part of our responsibility is being a good steward of the public’s dollars and of our finances in the most efficient way. This will help us do that.”

With the energy project, UAMS is expected to address $101m in maintenance needs, energy efficiency measures and rerouting Cedar Street onto a multilane expansion of Pine Street. Upon completion, the UAMS’s energy efficiency ranking is expected to be in the top 1% of all academic medical centres in the US.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr said: “For 140 years, UAMS and the city of Little Rock have worked together on a shared mission — the well-being of the people who live and work here.

“We’re glad today to join again with the university in a project that will help ensure that mission’s continued success for the city’s people and for all Arkansans.”

To improve safety and create space for the project, Cedar Street through the campus’ east side will be closed and traffic rerouted through the multilane expansion of Pine Street one block to the east.

The city of Little Rock will contribute 4.6m to the projected $12m in cost of relocation and other street improvements.

UAMS institutional support services vice chancellor and chief operating officer Christina Clark said: “Using guaranteed capital and savings in operating costs, UAMS is positioning itself to successfully weather the perfect storm of declining reimbursements and ever-increasing costs, challenges faced by many academic medical centers nationwide.”

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Image: UAMS chancellor Cam Patterson speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony. Photo: Courtesy of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

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