FORT SMITH — The city of Fort Smith has waived $63,500 in fees for permits related to construction of a proposed medical college.

FORT SMITH — The city of Fort Smith has waived $63,500 in fees for permits related to construction of a proposed medical college.


The Fort Smith Board of Directors unanimously approved the measure. Fort Smith Planning Director Wally Bailey said permit fees are funneled into the city’s General Fund and would not directly affect the city’s building department.


"Certainly, things like this are necessary from time to time for economic development," Bailey said. "Some of the ones in the past have been large economic development projects such as Mitsubishi, Graphic Packaging and Mars Petcare."


The waiver request was made by The Degen Foundation, which announced in February plans for the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.


The college will be built on 200 acres of donated land at Chaffee Crossing, a 7,000-acre redevelopment district on the eastern edge of Fort Smith made up of former military property. The college building will likely cost between $21 million and $23 million, according to Kyle Parker, CEO and president of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, an entity set up under The Degen Foundation to run the future college. It is expected to be completed by April 2016.


Within the last 30 days, the city of Fort Smith agreed to spend $1.5 million on infrastructure to support the college, and to close a portion of Veterans Avenue to allow for campus expansion and to reduce traffic near the school.