Deaconess Center completes strategic plan with Center for Child Well-Being

By Angela Mueller
Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal
March 23, 2018

WINNER: Public/private project – Less than $10 million

In December 2017, the Deaconess Foundation opened its new $8.8 million Center for Child Well-Being.
But the roots of the 21,000-square-foot space go back to November 2013, when the foundation’s board
approved a strategic plan to begin to develop a mission-appropriate facility. In 2015, the board formed a
task force to scout out city neighborhoods where development was occurring, and in 2016, Deaconess
acquired the property at 1000 N. Vandeventer that is now home to its new center.

The new facility houses the administrative offices for Deaconess Foundation and its longtime grantees,
Vision for Children at Risk and Neighborhood Houses, as well as providing office and meeting space for
other child advocates, civic leaders and community groups focused on improving children’s lives.
Flexible meeting rooms, classrooms and community spaces hold up to 125 people. The space is available
at no charge to groups focused on improving public policy for children.

Deaconess said it expects to host more than 6,000 attendees each year at the center at more than 350
gatherings focused on children’s policy. Rev. Starsky Wilson, Deaconess’ president and chief executive,
said when the project was first announced that Deaconess wanted to “cultivate a movement for child
well-being in St. Louis.”

“Movements need activated individuals, creative ideas and institutional expressions,” Wilson said in a
statement. “This will be a place where they all come together for kids.”

Deaconess purchased the land for the new facility from Voices for Children, a child advocacy
organization. The lot previously was vacant, so the construction of the new center also contributes to
the overall development of the surrounding community.

Deaconess relocated to the new center from its previous offices in downtown St. Louis and the
JeffVanderLou neighborhood. The organization expects as many as 50 people to work at the center.
And in a nod to Deaconess’ heritage, a stone from the Deaconess Hospital was incorporated into the
wall of the building’s courtyard.

About the project
Owner/Developer: Deaconess Foundation
Architect: KAI Design-Build
Contractor: KAI Design-Build
Financing: Self-funded by Deaconess Foundation and participation in the New Markets Tax Credit
(NMTC) Program with allocations from the St. Louis Development Corp. and Capital One.
Project cost: $8.8 million

St. Louis Business Journal