the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences today celebrated the completion of a $50 million power plant. The new power plant will provide all backup power for the UAMS campus. It is a central part of a $150 million energy project that is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and will result in estimated annual savings of $4.8 million for the university.

A bond issue approved by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees paid for the improvements.

Excerpt from a press release:

“Almost two years ago, many of us were here on this site to mark the start of construction,” [UAMS Chancellor Cam] said Patterson. “Today we celebrate its early completion. It is estimated that UAMS will save $4.8 million annually. Completing the power plant sooner means we can start saving sooner, allowing us to save even more This project is proof of the seriousness with which the university takes its responsibility to be a good steward of public money.

In addition to the construction of the new power plant, the energy project includes the replacement of the exterior and infrastructure of the Barton building, as well as an upgrade of the campus building control systems, interior lighting and exterior, electrical and mechanical systems. The new power plant will provide 100% backup power for the UAMS campus, including the cooling system and research facilities. Currently, the UAMS West Central Power Plant provides backup power to the UAMS inpatient facilities.

The comprehensive energy project allows UAMS to meet $101 million in maintenance needs and energy efficiency measures. Upon completion, UAMS’ energy efficiency ranking will be in the top 1% of all academic medical centers in the United States.

The project also included the diversion and expansion of Pine Street and the ultimate partial closure of Cedar Street in the spring of 2022. Much of the new roadwork is complete. The City of Little Rock contributed $4.6 million toward the projected $10 million cost of the move and other street improvements.

“The successful conclusion of this phase of the energy project is tangible proof of what the City of Little Rock and UAMS have done, are doing, and will continue to do together,” said Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. The challenges we both faced during the pandemic have only strengthened our bond, and today we are happy to join you in celebrating our collaboration and what it has achieved.

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