B.E. Smith Family Center Celebrates Grand Opening

B.E. Smith Family Center

Merriam, Kan., April 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Merriam, KS – AdventHealth Shawnee Mission continues to experience growth and is celebrating its latest addition, the B.E. Smith Family Center, a new $24 million facility that is now home to both the Early Learning and Britain Development programs, with a grand opening on Tuesday, April 30. The space fosters an environment of inclusivity – allowing children of all abilities to learn, grow and thrive together.

Britain Development provides therapeutic treatment and early education with a unique, family-involved approach to children ages birth to six years with a variety of developmental challenges, including Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other conditions. Individualized programs are crafted for each child by a team of physical, occupational and music therapists, speech language pathologists, early childhood special education teachers, behavior analysts and social workers. Currently the program serves over 200 children each week.

Early Learning provides faith-based child care and education to children of the physicians and associates of AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. Through its nearly 40-year history, Early Learning has played a vital role in helping AHSM attract and retain top-quality care givers – resulting in better care for patients. The ELC serves over 600 children each year.

Doug and Nan Smith made a lead fundraising donation to AdventHealth Foundation Shawnee Mission toward the construction of the new space, igniting a campaign that resulted in contributions of $20 million from more than 2,000 donors, including significant gifts from Gary and Stephanie Goscha, Hall Family Foundation, J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Tom W. Olofson Family Foundation and Sunderland Foundation. Plus, in-kind donations from contractors and construction companies working on the project totaled nearly $500,000.

The new facility includes an expanded aquatic therapy unit with a multisensory pool and an expanded space for the Britain Development autism program. Designed to provide a modern learning environment for children of all ability levels, the Center will foster collaboration and connection between children, families and staff, and promote understanding and inclusion of children with special needs.

“The element of inclusion – children with special needs and typically developing children learning and playing alongside each other – is what has driven Nan and me to help make this project a possibility,” said Doug Smith. “We know all the children taught here will benefit from learning from each other, and they will teach all of us adults along the way, too.”

“We’re grateful to Doug and Nan for their vision, partnership and passionate fundraising support toward the B.E. Smith Family Center,” said Sam Huenergardt, president and chief executive officer of AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. “The new, state-of-the-art Center replaces two of the oldest buildings on this campus where the programs were previously housed and will help us overcome significant obstacles as we work to respond to growing community health care needs.”

Facts about the B.E. Smith Family Center:

Construction began in March 2018 and was completed just a little over one year later.62,000 square feet facility features accessible indoor and outdoor playgrounds.More than 600 children are enrolled in Early Learning each year, the largest child care center in Kansas.Early Learning is one of the oldest employer-based child care centers in the entire United States and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It is also the largest child care program in the state of Kansas.Britain Development was founded by Lee Ann Britain in 1972 and is one of the only programs in the nation to offer comprehensive therapies, early education and family support in one centralized location.The facility features three music therapy rooms, three dedicated feeding therapy spaces, two aquatic pools and a large multisensory environment room.The B.E. Smith Family Center is the only building in the world to have 10 rooms featuring the Variety KC Compass Harness System.

The Center partnered with Turner Construction Company, Henderson Engineers, SVPA Architects of West Des Moines, EYP Architecture & Engineering, Olsson (civil engineering), Saul Engineering and Water’s Edge Aquatic Design on the project.

About AdventHealth Shawnee Mission

With a sacred mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ, AdventHealth is a connected system of care for every stage of life and health. A focus on whole-person health and commitment to caring for the body, mind and spirit unify the system’s nearly 50 hospital campuses and hundreds of care sites in diverse markets throughout almost a dozen states. AdventHealth in Kansas City includes AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Merriam, KS; Advent Health Lenexa; AdventHealth South Overland Park, AdventHealth Centra Care and AdventHealth Medical Group. AdventHealth Shawnee Mission is the only certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Kansas City. Visit AdventHealthKC.com for more information.


Kelly Cooper
AdventHealth Shawnee Mission

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