Atchison Hospital Buildings Donated to Benedictine College

Second Largest Single Gift in School's History

Monday, March 1, 2010

At a value of approximately $3.3 million, it is the second largest single gift in the history of Benedictine College. But the donation, comprising approximately 7 acres adjacent to college property and numerous buildings, will have a far greater affect on the future of the college and its students. In a formal signing ceremony at Noon on Wednesday, March 3, in the College Cafeteria, the transfer of ownership became official.

“We have grown by more than 70% in the last 10 years and, while we’ve been keeping up with residential construction, we are in need of additional academic space,” said Stephen D. Minnis, president of Benedictine College. “This donation by the Atchison Hospital Board helps us address the immediate needs of our new nursing program and provides more space for our Psychology, Sociology/Criminology, and Journalism & Mass Communication Departments. With those departments moving to Cray Manor, we will have additional space for our expanded engineering program in the science building, Westerman Hall. The Hospital has truly answered our prayers.”

The donation was made possible by the Atchison Hospital’s move to a new facility south of town.

"Who knew three years ago when we started this discussion that we would impact three quality institutions in Atchison," said hospital CEO John Jacobson. "Of course we bought the 63 acres for our current site from Maur Hill-Mount Academy, and they appreciated that. Benedictine College is getting land and buildings contiguous to its campus, something difficult to come by for a land-locked institution. And finally, the community has a brand new hospital."

The property donation includes the land between M St. and Harper Dr. north and south and between 2 nd St. and 3 rd St. east and west. This area includes the old hospital building, a three-story building currently known as Cray Manor, and a two-story building currently known as the Ramsay Medical Building. These buildings will likely carry new names for college use.

“The Ramsay building will house the newly-formed nursing program,” Minnis said. “It will hold two large classrooms, a nursing lab, a library, and offices for faculty of the nursing program.”

There are currently two tenants in the first floor of the building and they will remain during their lease terms. They will vacate the building at the end of their leases, opening more space and additional opportunities for the college. It is expected that the Athletic Training program will then join Nursing in that building.

The plan for Cray Manor includes both residential and academic space. The top floor is scheduled to be residential living space for up to 40 students.

“Some renovations will be needed to get it in living condition, but since it was formerly an assisted living facility, the renovations are not difficult,” Minnis said.

The basement and first floors are now offices and those will be renovated as classroom space, sociology and psychology labs, and faculty offices. All renovations and moves should be completed for the fall 2010 semester.

According to Minnis, plans call for the hospital building to be razed, most likely this summer.

“Unfortunately, the old hospital is a large, very inefficient building and to use it would cost a great deal of money to renovate for our purposes,” Minnis said.

With the addition of the new property, Benedictine College will now comprise nearly 120 acres. Founded in 1858, the college is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report for the past three years as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.