KAI Completes William N. Dill Youth Development Center for Every Child’s Hope

May 22, 2024|

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – When ground was broken in October 2021 for the $7.1 million William N. Dill Youth Development Center at Every Child’s Hope in North St. Louis County, nobody would have imagined the unexpected setback that would significantly delay the project’s completion.

In July 2023, a person illegally entered the nearly completed building and started a fire in a storage room. Representatives of the child services organization were devastated to learn that the fire had damaged the building’s tresses, as well as its electrical wiring, HVAC equipment and recently completed drywall. The total cost of the damage was $2 million.

KAI, which served as the architect and general contractor on the 18,000-square-foot project, rallied its team and moved quickly to repair the fire-damaged facility within eight months. A ribbon cutting ceremony officially marking the completion of the organization’s new, short-term residential treatment facility was held on April 18.

“Over the eight months, I have seen hundreds and hundreds of the KAI team of skilled laborers who have come and poured their hearts into building this, then gutting this and rebuilding it has been amazing,” said ECH Chief Executive Officer Julia Adami. “I have witnessed their hearts and souls in this project; it matters to them, and it has been amazing.”

Every Child’s Hope was founded in 1858 as an orphanage for immigrant children who lost their parents in cholera outbreaks. As the needs of St. Louis children and families have evolved over the past century and a half, ECH’s services and programs have adapted to meet those ever-changing needs. While ECH is no longer an orphanage, its more than 200 staff members across Missouri are dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating emotional trauma and mental health issues, and providing aftercare and follow-up services. Each year ECH helps more than 1,400 youth and children.

The organization’s new treatment facility, located on ECH’s St. Louis campus off St. Charles Rock Road, will accommodate 30 youth while creating a new access point on ECH’s campus.

The building’s design integrates a new model of care where families can receive treatment and services they need in a single location. ECH’s 70-year-old residential facilities were insufficient in meeting the needs of the children in the organization’s care.

Based on best practices and building design research, the new facility features a main lobby, offices, conference rooms, 30 private bedrooms in three wings (two for boys and one for girls), plus restroom and dining areas for each wing and a safe and secure outdoor courtyard. The facility’s design focuses on reducing stress and anxiety, improving treatment outcomes and creating a therapeutic environment for those giving and getting care.

“This new facility stands as a beacon of hope and healing, meticulously designed with the understanding that every child deserves a safe, supportive environment to overcome adversity,” said KAI CEO Michael B. Kennedy. “Our commitment is not just in the structure of the building, but in the promise that we make every day to provide these young survivors of abuse and trauma with the tools they need to rebuild their lives and embrace a brighter, healthier future. This is another piece to add to our mission to help transform communities.”








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