ACHE (Arkansas College of Health Education) Property
Northwest Arkansas is disproportionately lacking in healthcare professionals per capita. Kyle Parker has responded to this need by building a medical school, the Arkansas College of Health Education (ACHE), in the neighboring towns of Barling and Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The mission of the school is “To educate and train a diverse group of highly competent and compassionate health care professionals who will improve the lives of those in underserved areas.”
MWA was hired to design the walkable, mixed-use neighborhood that will straddle the Barling/Ft. Smith city line and surround the school. It will provide a community in which residents, employees, students and visitors can participate in an active and engaged civic life. This new neighborhood will include housing (mansions, houses, cottages, townhouses, apartment houses, apartment buildings and accessory apartments), offices, shops, restaurants and civic buildings.
The design incorporates a “healthy spine” that begins in a regional park and weaves throughout the neighborhood connecting the residents and the campus to the town square. The traditional, walkable neighborhood structure supports the lifestyle of physical health and community which ACHE is committed to promoting. The town square and natural park will support activities for the whole region as well as meeting the day-to-day goals of exercise and social activity. Watkins’ team recently finished the schematic design for the first phase of the park which will provide the setting for the annual celebration of life ceremony hosted by the college.