HDC takes fam tour of hospital


The Historic District Commission had only one item of new business on its agenda July 5, but commissioners had already spent two hours on a thorough site visit to Eureka Springs Hospital (ESH) and in a workshop. The Hospital Commission is considering a coöperative plan with Allegiance Health Care to either remodel and upgrade the existing facility, or take it down to rebuild and modernize.

Though it is not a contributing structure, the hospital is within the Historic District, so HDC must decide what alterations – all the way up to razing and starting over – would be allowed. Chair Virgil Fowler pointed out if it were not for the possibility of exterior work, the HDC would not be involved.

Architect Mickey Finefield, representing Morrison Architects, led commissioners around the exterior of the facility and shared research he had done years ago when plans for remodeling ESH began, but fizzled. Finefield combined architectural possibilities for each building and the property in general with an understanding of the needs of a modern hospital.

The older building was built in 1929, the newer part in 1967.

ESH Community Liaison Catherine Pappas was tour guide inside the hospital, and pointed out that because of cramped space they have turned four of their 15 patient rooms into office space. ESH has 18 beds.

She also showed commissioners up-to-date acquisitions including the CT scanner, and said, “We have excellent equipment and staff here, but people see the outside and get the wrong impression.”

Fowler and other commissioners noted the tour had been an important start for their discussion.

Five nods bestowed

In the regular meeting, commissioners quickly approved the application for replacing a lattice privacy fence at 2 Pine with a 6.5-foot solid cedar wood panel fence. Commissioners also approved the Consent Agenda, which had only one item:

  • 155 & 153 W. Van Buren – new paint colors

Fowler presented Administrative Approvals, applications for repair and work involving no changes in materials or color, but which include changes in roofing color:

  • 2 Washington – re-roof
  • 89 Wall St. – re-paint
  • 184 N. Main – re-paint trim

Next meeting will be Wednesday, July 19, at 6 p.m., preceded at 5 p.m. by a workshop on property file database and Code enforcement.