Northwest Arkansas dignitaries helped Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield celebrate the official opening of its new Northwest Arkansas Corporate Center in Springdale, marking a significant increase in the insurer’s commitment to the region and its people.
Speakers for the formal ribbon cutting included:
- Springdale Chamber of Commerce President Bill Rogers
- Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse
- NWA Council President & Chief Executive Officer Nelson Peacock
- Arkansas Blue Cross President & Chief Executive Officer Curtis Barnett
“This is an important milestone in our presence in Northwest Arkansas, which stretches back to the mid-1960s,” said Barnett. “This part of our state has grown immensely in the past 55 years, and we are investing heavily in its future to help ensure it remains a vibrant, growing and healthy community.”
In November 2019, USAble Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Blue Cross) announced the purchase of the building’s site – an 8.81-acre tract west of U.S. Interstate 49 in southern Springdale, immediately northwest of the intersection of I-49 and Don Tyson Parkway. In February 2020, Nabholz Corporation was chosen as the general contractor for the construction of the new four-story, 81,000-square-foot facility, and Crafton Tull was selected as the project’s engineering/architecture firm. Construction commenced soon thereafter, and after a 19-month build, Arkansas Blue Cross employees began occupying the building in mid-September 2021.
Arkansas Blue Cross in Northwest Arkansas
Arkansas Blue Cross established a district sales office in Fayetteville in 1966, and in 1996, the company opened a full-service regional office serving Northwest Arkansas, also in Fayetteville (on Millsap Road). The company also has an ArkansasBlue welcome center (“retail” store) in Fayetteville and Rogers.
Arkansas Blue Cross has a large customer base in Northwest Arkansas that includes in-state individual and group policyholders and national accounts. Arkansas Blue Cross maintains its corporate headquarters in Little Rock and operates regional offices and ArkansasBlue welcome centers in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Texarkana.
About Arkansas Blue Cross’ Northwest Arkansas Corporate Center
The design of the Arkansas Blue Cross Northwest Arkansas Corporate Center, which can accommodate about 300 employees, incorporates corporate workplace best practices the company and the project architects have observed in the headquarters of industry-leading clients and prospects in Northwest Arkansas and beyond.
Here are a few of the building’s progressive features:
- Lots of windows, natural light and great views – thanks, in part, to massive banks of exterior glass “curtain walls.”
- An in-house employee fitness center.
- A scenic outdoor space and pavilion area – which will be available to employees and for use by nonprofit community groups for special events.
- Dedicated training classrooms.
- An Innovation Lab space dedicated to finding solutions that can help create more efficient and effective processes and health plans.
- Floor plans that are highly functional and flexible, through the use of moveable walls.
- High-tech meeting and presentation areas – the largest of which also will be made available for use by selected nonprofit community groups.
- An electronic signage system for meeting spaces that shows availability in real time.
- High-visibility office doors – a Human Resources, compliance/safety best practice.
- Amenity-filled canteen and break areas.
- “Hoteling” workstation areas for visiting staff, clients and vendors.
- Special areas (some sound-proof) for private personal space.
- Secure storage lockers for employees’ and visitors’ personal items.
A few noteworthy environment-conscious features include:
- High-performance exterior glass that limits solar heat penetration and maximizes light.
- Paints and coatings made from low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) substances.
- Regionally sourced exterior stone that was cut on site.
- Grounds dominated by native and drought-tolerant plantings that require little water.
- Automated daylight-sensing lighting systems with energy-efficient LED light sources.
- An abundance of interior finishes that contain recycled content.
- Automated mechanical systems that utilize economizers and energy-recovery units.
“We’re proud of the increased presence our growing number of employees and this building – along with our two ArkansasBlue retail welcome centers in Fayetteville and Rogers – bring to this part of our state,” Barnett said. “It will allow us to have bigger impact and do more.”
“But Arkansas Blue Cross’ commitment is not just about how we can do more in this region. It’s also about how we can do better. We recognize that healthcare faces many challenges and that today’s solutions aren’t going to fix tomorrow’s problems. Innovation is drastically needed in healthcare: innovation in care delivery, technology and in business models. No place innovates or accomplishes more than Northwest Arkansas. This region has made the commitment to innovate and develop into a major medical, health-and-wellness corridor, and we’re excited to play an integral role in that development.