Fort Smith's medical school is in the early stages of developing a public park on the school's property, the executive director of development said.
The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the first installment of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, recently wrapped up its first year, while the second installment, the Arkansas College of Health Sciences is under construction and is expected to be finished in 2020.
As the school gains more students and faculty, a park will be needed and will align with the school's mission of encouraging healthy lifestyles, said Jackie Krutsch, executive director of development.
The college is partnering with Sebastian County in seeking grant funds and will be raising private funds for this project, although the college will be solely responsible for the perpetual maintenance and upkeep of the park.
The roughly 10-acre park is estimated to cost roughly between $3 million and $3.5 million and will be about three blocks east of Chad Colley Blvd. The school is applying for public grants to help pay for the park has been reaching out to the public for input on what residents would like to see at the park, Krutsch said. Ideally, the park would be finished by this time next year, but may take until 2020.
The College of Osteopathic Medicine utilizes anatomical donors, and one thing that will be unique to this park is an area intended to honor those who have donated their bodies to science, she said. The space, called the Celebration Garden, will have a clear entrance.
Early plans for the park also show that it will encompass a lake, a jogging path, an exercise tent and a play area, among other amenities.