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As healthcare trends evolve, many communities recognize that their needs are changing too. 

This recognition and advancing behavioral health needs are key factors that drove the University of Kansas Health System to seek a new location for a behavioral health hospital. After the Environmental Protection Agency relocated its headquarters, the owner viewed this as an opportunity to customize an unoccupied building that would help meet the distinctive needs of communities in Kansas City, Kansas, and surrounding areas. Understanding the demand for short-term inpatient behavioral health services in the Midwest region, The University of Kansas Health System selected JE Dunn to renovate the space to meet modern-day mental and behavioral health needs.

Once interior demolition was complete, we utilized our VDC group to laser scan the existing structure to generate a structural model for MEP coordination.  It was discovered the structure was seven inches lower on each floor than what the original building construction documents had shown. This created a very tight plenum space for the MEP trades to coordinate overhead rough-in.

The project site also features a large, tiered, interior atrium, which presented a challenge due to different-sized floor plates. To correct this, the project team erected a structural steel slab-on-deck within the atrium to expand existing floor plates to allow for the layouts of the new behavioral health space and to close in the space for healthcare code requirements. To take advantage of the existing elements and enhance the internal environment, the team installed natural plants within the atrium to bring a sense of the outdoors, creating a healing and soothing environment for the patients and staff. Since the inception of the University of Kansas Health System Strawberry Hill Campus Behavioral Health Hospital, the community has seen a surge in redevelopment efforts. Inspired by the renovation, other Kansas City businesses are following suit and moving nearby to reinvigorate the development in Kansas City, Kansas, and nearby areas.

As a Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County native, seeing how vibrant my community once was, it was very rewarding to be a part of a project like this that is helping spark the revitalization of the inner city.