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St. Bernards completes $7 million surgery suites expansion project

The ribbon cutting ceremony at St. Bernards Medical Center celebrating the $7 million surgery suites expansion project in the Community Room.
Rebecca Robinson
The ribbon cutting ceremony at St. Bernards Medical Center celebrating the $7 million surgery suites expansion project in the Community Room.

St. Bernards Medical Center (SBMC) celebrated the $7 million surgery suites expansion project completion Tuesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Ceremony was held at the SBMC Community Room.

The hospital's expansion added three new surgical suites and space for a fourth bringing the surgical floor to a total of 18 surgical rooms with 12 different surgical specialties. The hospital opened a 245,000-square-foot surgical and intensive care tower back in 2019.

“Space is not everything,” SBMC Communications Director Mitchell Nail said. “The most important part is having a good team, but that team needs a place to work. Today’s opening is the culmination of months of work and years of planning.”

SBMC has 48 expert surgeons performing robotic surgery. The surgical floor has 6 surgical robots on-site. Connie Hill, St. Bernards vice president of Surgery, Emergency, and Heart Care Services said this makes St. Bernards the largest robotic surgical program in the state.

“We are so fortunate to be able to offer to the community 28 collective OR suites between this entity and the outpatient surgery center to meet the growing demands of this community,” Connie Hill said.

This expansion will help decrease wait times for surgeries in the area. Joshua Tolleson, M.D., Chief of Surgery at St. Bernards said the hospital performs about 10,000 surgical procedures each year.

“We have a growing need for more surgery space, especially as our population ages and we see more elective procedures,” Dr. Tolleson said in a press release. “These new operating rooms enhance our capability to perform a large variety of cases with the latest technology available.”

Donations including one by St. Bernards Advocates helped offset the project’s overall cost. St. Bernards Medical Center Administrator Micheal Givens said it was a community project.

“St. Bernards has grown into the largest treachery care in the region. Today we are at 454 licensed beds, serving 23 counties across northeast Arkansas,” Givens said. “As each year goes by we’ve added facilities to ensure we provide the latest in patient care to our growing community.”

A 2019 graduate of Sheridan High School, Robinson graduated from A-State with a degree in multimedia journalism in December 2023. In January 2021, while working toward her degree, she was named sports editor for The Herald, A-State’s student-run newspaper.