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Kansas City, Mo. — The recently completed Burns & McDonnell World Headquarters was named Project of the Year in the Mid-America Region by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). The 310,000 square-foot, four-story building also received top honors in the Commercial Buildings category in the annual DBIA competition.

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The project was developed by VanTrust Real Estate, LLC, on a 17.5-acre site that previously was occupied for many years by Beth Shalom synagogue. The new building sits adjacent to the preexisting Burns & McDonnell headquarters complex at 9400 Ward Parkway. The project formally began in 2013 when Burns & McDonnell reached agreement with VanTrust to serve as designer, builder and sole occupant. Demolition began in July 2014 and construction commenced in October of that year. The $75 million project was completed in March 2016, 17 months from the construction start date and nearly $5 million under the original budget. The project required 345,000 man-hours for completion and had zero safety incidents.

“On behalf of the DBIA, we congratulate Burns & McDonnell for its beautiful new headquarters building,” says Oretta Smith, Executive Director of DBIA-Mid-America Region. “This amazing project proves once again that design-build is the most effective method to meet an aggressive schedule and owner expectations of cost certainty.”

“We’re extremely proud of our new home and doubly gratified that it has been recognized as Project of the Year by the DBIA,” says Greg Graves, Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “This project could not have gone better, starting with a great partner and developer in VanTrust. We believe our building can serve as a case study of the value of integrated design-build, a project delivery model that Burns & McDonnell has perfected over the years by having architects, engineers, construction professionals and all other relevant disciplines under one roof.”

“This was a challenging project from the beginning of planning and permitting, through design and construction phases and final move-in,” says David Harrison, President, VanTrust Real Estate. “Yet, those challenges were always overcome, thanks to the creativity, flexibility and persistence of the Burns & McDonnell team.”

The project was developed to expand and consolidate operations at Burns & McDonnell’s world headquarters campus in South Kansas City. The new building is now home to 1,400 employee owners and expands total capacity at the headquarters complex to 3,500. The new facility was designed as a showcase of great design and sustainable, energy-saving features. It incorporates a number of new workspace concepts, employee collaboration areas and amenities including a health center, pharmacy, credit union, event spaces and 250-seat auditorium. An especially notable amenity is the MacKids Learning Academy, a 20,000-square-foot child care center with capacity for 144 pre-school-aged children of Burns & McDonnell employees.

“There is so much we are proud of with this new headquarters, it’s hard to know where to start but of course the MacKids Learning Academy is high on the list,” says Lori Top, Design Principle in Charge of the 9450 project. “The academy is designed and intended to foster a love of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) among the next generation of Burns & Mac children. What a gratifying way to give back to your fellow employee owners, by teaching their children to love the STEM fields as we do.”

Sustainability and energy savings were central elements of all design and construction decisions. The building achieves exceptional energy efficiency thanks to high-performance HVAC systems, LED lighting and other features. Another key sustainability goal was to achieve maximum daylighting while controlling thermal heat gain from sunlight pouring through large exterior windows around the perimeter of the entire building. An advanced “smart” window shading system controls heat gain and sunlight by automatically raising or lowering the shades based on signals from rooftop sensors that track the movement and cloud cover of the sun.

With completion, the Burns & McDonnell headquarters campus has been expanded by 74 percent on what is now a 37-acre campus at the southern terminus of Ward Parkway.

“We routinely take on the toughest challenges for our clients and we think this building is just more evidence of our ability to come through for them,” says Graves. “This was not an easy project but those are the kind of challenges we really love.”

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