Fred W. Smith Conference Center

The Fred W. Smith Conference Center, on the 12th floor of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute, incorporates graceful curves — symbolizing the curve of the spine — into the walls, ceilings and carpet in both eye-catching and subtle ways. The result is an elegant and inviting space that encompasses a 335-seat auditorium and a large conference room, both outfitted with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and accommodations for events ranging from banquets to lectures. It is named for the chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which has been a constant supporter of the UAMS mission to teach, heal, search and serve.

A spacious foyer between the conference room and auditorium provides an area for receptions or post-event gatherings. Visitors will be drawn from the elevators into the reception area to see the room’s centerpiece, a brilliant, multi-colored chandelier of hand-blown glass by Arkansan Ed Pennebaker that hangs from the middle of a circular ceiling treatment and can be seen reflected in a rounded floor tile of black granite beneath.

The gallery extends into a lounge space where a west-facing window extends from floor to ceiling, to offer an impressive view of the UAMS campus. The conference center walls include wood panels of eucalyptus, the darker-toned sapele and a base of oak, lending a natural feel to the room which is accented by indirect lighting. A wireless high-speed Internet connection is available in the lobby and throughout the Fred W. Smith Conference Center.

James H. Hamlen II Boardroom
The James H. Hamlen II Boardroom offers a bright and large space for conferences, meetings or presentations. Flexibility is the key with a large segmented table that can be reconfigured from a large oval to fit the needs of any gathering. The audio and visual equipment can be conveniently controlled from the lecturn near the projection screen. A high-speed data connection is available through the lectern as well.

The boardroom’s angled southeast wall is made of movable panels, allowing the space to be opened into the lobby for larger events such as a banquet. As in the conference center’s other rooms, the ceiling is treated by architects as a canvas for art, with layered geometric shapes including a curving barrel-vaulted ceiling outlined by a rectangular treatment that provides space for indirect lighting.

The window along the north wall offers another view of the UAMS campus and can be covered by remote-controlled shading as needed. The boardroom is named for the late James Hamlen, a Little Rock businessman who was a generous supporter of UAMS.

Fred W. Smith Auditorium
At 335 seats, the Fred W. Smith Auditorium is the UAMS campus’ largest auditorium and offers a comfortable and dignified venue appropriate for speeches, lectures and presentations. The cushioned seats carry a design consistent with the building’s curving forms and each includes a small moveable desk that can be swiveled into use.

The angled, fabric-covered walls, together with acoustic ceiling panels serve both design and purpose as they absorb sound in a way that is optimized for speeches and lectures.

The stage includes room for a lectern or table and chairs for hosting lectures or panel discussions. A 12 foot by 24 foot wall-mounted screen can handle presentations with two comparative images or one large image. A screen at the back of the auditorium allows the presenter to see what is on the screen while facing the audience. The auditorium’s state-of-the-art sound and video systems can receive input from most any audio or video source and can be controlled via touch panel at the stage lectern or in the control room at the back of the hall. There is equipment for videoconferencing and teleconferencing, as well as a wireless microphone system.

To the side of the auditorium is another small conference room – or green room – with comfortable, cushioned chairs where presenters wait until they are called to the stage. The room has a 40-inch LCD flat-screen video monitor that can be used to view presentations in the auditorium.

We gratefully acknowledge the work of Hrand A. Duvalian of Cromwell Architects and Engineers of Little Rock and the team of architects he led in designing the conference center, CDI Contractors Inc., who built the facility, and Jay S. Stanley & Associates of North Little Rock, who designed the audiovisual systems for the conference center.