Academic Building & Master Plan

Donnelly College faced high renovation costs for a project that had been in the plans for years. Our team found an alternate solution that maintained and enhanced the school’s culture and brand.

The college had been working for years to find a way to renovate the existing hospital building into an academic building that would fit the needs of the institution. The renovation costs, however, were prohibitive. Our solution created a new quad around the space where a seven-story academic tower that served academic and administrative functions was to be demolished.

In tandem with Excel Construction, we provided master planning and design services for a new 72,000-square-foot academic building and 60-seat chapel, completed in 2020. The new facility anchors the east end of a revitalized quad and campus entrance.




Donnelly College


Kansas City, Kansas



Higher Education

Commercial Buildings




Commercial, Retail & Institutional


  • 2021 National Excellence in Construction Award, Associated Builders and Contractors
  • 2021 Capstone Award, Kansas City Business Journal
  • 2021 Tilt-Up Excellence in Achievement Award, Tilt-Up Concrete Association
  • 2021 Site-Cast Tilt-Up Excellence in Concrete Award, Concrete Promotional Group

“The new academic building and campus upgrades will help take us through the next 70+ years. This allows us to continue providing accessible education and transforming lives in the Donnelly community for years to come. We would not be where we are today without the innovative and creative solutions used by the Burns & McDonnell team.”

Monsignor Stuart Swetland

President, Donnelly College

An academic building for the future of education.

Our solution for a tilt-up concrete building with design and detailing touches was a cost-effective, long-term, low-maintenance solution that maximized the project budget. The tilt-up construction style allowed us to open up the building spaces for daylight and panoramic views of the main quad and campus.

Donnelly College's mission is to provide higher education regardless of a student's financial circumstances or background, so a cost-effective master plan is essential to ongoing campus upgrades. We provided master planning, pre-construction cost estimating, community marketing and design services while working closely with the construction team. The innovative and hands-on approach provided the ability and flexibility to master plan the campus with phased projects implemented over time to respond to future growth and changing trends in higher education.

Operational campus during construction.

Our team and Excel Construction were tasked with executing the project without disrupting campus operations or interfering with campus life.

Our solution created a new education, administration and chapel building that reflects the openness and mission of Donnelly, while also forming a new outdoor quad around the space.

Photos by Michael Robinson / @mrobinsonphoto


increase in freshman enrollment during pandemic


increase in total enrollment during pandemic

Case Study

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