A program and reception was held Monday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Baptist Health Medical Center of Arkadelphia.

A program and reception was held Monday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Baptist Health Medical Center of Arkadelphia.
“We are honored to be celebrating our 35th year anniversary this month,” said Tony Hardage, administrator for BHMCA.
Hardage noted he had met with several individuals, advisory board members and community members to compile the history of BHMCA.
“We thought that (getting the history) was important because we needed to know that past as we go forward,” said Hardage.
According to Hardage, BHMCA was officially dedicated on July 10, 1983. The dedication was a culmination of a county-wide effort.
“When they dedicated the hospital, the slogan that was used was ‘We Did It Together’,” said Hardage.
The first patient was scheduled in the hospital on Wednesday, July 13, 1983.
“How this came about, to me, was really amazing,” Hardage said.
Hardage mentioned the former Clark County Memorial Hospital. At that time, CCMH had been operated by the Clark County Quorum Court since 1950. They would go on to join the Baptist Medical system on July 1, 1981.
“In order to do that, there had to be a county-wide effort that was titled the Capital Campaign Drive. Individuals, companies and organization all got behind that,” said Hardage.
The goal of the campaign was to raise $500,000 for a lease agreement with Twin Rivers Medical Center and Baptist. Dan Gathwright, who served as administrator at the time, was instrumental in getting Baptist involved.
“They surpassed their $500,000 goal. They actually raised over $582,000 in a short amount of time. It was a tremendous effort,” Hardage said.
Ground was broken on the existing facility on May 27, 1982. The 15 acres of land for the hospital was donated by I.B. Fuller, while James Harrington was instrumental in providing the road access to the facility.
“There was a lot of people responsible and who contributed to those efforts. We are grateful that for the were,” said Hardage.
While conducting his research, Hardage came some interesting announcements regarding the hospital in old minutes and newspaper articles.
“Some of the announcements when they were moving out here was, they were going to expand the hours of the switchboard, the lab and the emergency room to include weekends and holidays. We kind of laughed, but that was our beginning,” Hardage said.
Currently, BHMCA is recognized as a level IV trauma center, and is designated by the health department as a stroke-ready hospital.
“I’m proud of everyone being involved over the last 35 years,” Hardage said.