Courtyard Facing Entrance of Deaconess Center

Positively Advocating for Children

Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being
The Deaconess Foundation
St. Louis, MO

The Deaconess Foundation chose KAI as the design-builder for the new 21,272 SF, $6.1 million Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, located on North Vandeventer, just north of Delmar at the edge of the Grand Center Arts District.

A grant-making organization dedicated to child health and well-being (especially the most vulnerable), Deaconess envisioned a place that would help various agencies to collaborate, boosting efforts to improve child policy and racial equity. Thus, the new center provides meeting space, including a large conference space for up to 125 people, for child advocates, civic leaders and community organizers at no charge. The building hosts over 6,000 individuals at more than 250 communal gatherings annually, all focused on improving the lives of children. Also included in the facility are classrooms, a chapel, and administrative offices for the Deaconess Foundation, Vision for Children at Risk and Neighborhood Houses. Over 40 employees were relocated and consolidated from several offices in St. Louis City into the new facility. KAI’s design incorporates many elements that appeal to children, such as bright colors, eye-catching graphics and furniture, and garden spaces.

Construction began on an extremely tight schedule of 7 1/2 months and was completed on time with tightly integrated KAI project teams using Design-Build project delivery to accommodate the accelerated schedule. In order to keep the project on schedule, KAI selected tilt-up concrete construction for the building’s exterior facade to assure the fastest possible building erection, as well as used vibrated stone piers to drastically reduce the owner’s site remediation cost and schedule impact.

The design and construction reflects the Foundation’s religious legacy as well as its commitment to social issues by exceeding the City’s minority participation goals. The project achieved 36% Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and 3% Women Business Enterprises (WBE) participation. The site selection also reflects this commitment with a highly accessible location which supports the North Central Plan development initiative and is planted within the St. Louis Promise Zone.


Architecture, Constructability Review, Value Engineering, Preconstruction Services, Program Verification, MEP Design Review, General Contracting, Design-Build, Interior Design

“The design team took great care in conveying our religious legacy and commitment to social causes through the selection of bright colors and furniture choices that appeal to children.”

Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, President & CEO
The Deaconess Foundation

The Impact

Establishing a Community Action Tank

This project's purpose is to aid in the improvement of the health and wellness of children in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The new building offers space for community convening and cross-sector collaboration, as it houses a grant maker, child advocacy organization and youth service provider all under one roof. Together, they can fulfill their mission of engaging, collaborating and advocating for children.

Project Recognition

DBIA-MAR Award 2018 Honor Award for Commercial Projects
AGCMO 2018 & 2017 Safety Award
St. Louis Business Journal Building St. Louis Awards 2018 Public/Private Project Less Than $10 Million Winner
AGCMO 2019 Keystone Award