The community is preparing to say goodbye to an old friend -- a structure that has served the Kansas City region as a pillar of both hope and healing for a century. Donnelly College's Tower building, formerly Providence Hospital, will be demolished over the next few weeks. We invite our community to share their memories below and help us say farewell!
In 1920, Providence Hospital was built on the ground of what is now 18th Street and Barnett Ave in Kansas City, Kansas, the current and permanent location of Donnelly College. As you can see from the photo below, the hospital started as a three-story building with a large smokestack on the north side of the property.
By the time Donnelly took ownership of the property in the 1980s, the former hospital building had grown from three stories to seven. About the only identifiable marker to indicate this is the same property in both photos is the smokestack. The below photo is courtesy of Kathy Hannis '82.
Today, the transformation of this property continues with the completion of Donnelly's new academic building in the summer of 2020. And in the background of this photo you can still see Donnelly's former building and the remaining smokestack.
While the former academic building served us well for many decades, and served as a hospital for many decades prior to that, it will be brought down as part of the College's campus master plan. In the rendering below, you can see the quad that will be built in its place, creating a park-like setting for students and our campus.
What will remain on campus is the smokestack just behind our Community Event Center, a nod to our past and a physical representation to the community that this corner will remain a beacon of hope as it has for so long.
The other pieces of the former building that will remain are the stained-glass windows from Donnelly's original chapel. These windows have been carefully removed and installed in our new Blessed Seelos Chapel.
Windows in original Donnelly chapel in former academic building:
Windows reinstalled in the new Blessed Seelos Chapel:
While it is time to bid this building farewell, soon we will announce a commemorative brick campaign that will allow you to own a piece of Donnelly/Providence/KCK history. Complete this form if you are interested in learning more.
We also encourage you to share your stories and memories of the building (use the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org). We frequently have visitors that stop by campus to share that they attended school here years ago, or perhaps they worked in health care when the facility was a hospital. We even have visitors (and Donnelly College faculty) that tell us they were born here.
The building has just completed an abatement stage and demolition will occur over the next few weeks.
As we continue into this next stage of construction, we want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to our many neighbors who have supported the College through construction noise and traffic while they watched the campus transformation proceed.