Along with a new children's hospital, Colorado Springs will be getting a new and bigger Ronald McDonald House.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado, which, for the past three decades has provided a temporary residence for families of hospitalized children, announced Wednesday a $10 million fundraising campaign for the home.
It would be built on the UCHealth Memorial Hospital North campus, within walking distance of the new Children's Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs on the city's north side.
The new Ronald McDonald House is scheduled to open in spring 2019 around the same time as the children's hospital, said Beth Alessio, the RMHCSC executive director. At 25,000 square feet, it would be about four times the size of the current home on Logan Avenue a short walk from Memorial Central.
The Logan Avenue home will remain open until the new one is finished, after which it will be sold.
"We're thrilled to come alongside those families where home is a little bit too far away to go back to every day," Alessio said. "We can provide them the home that they need and stay near their hospitalized children through the duration of their medical treatment."
The Phillips family from the mountain town of Howard near Salida spent nearly five months at the Ronald McDonald House after their twins, Camden and Rowen, were born prematurely last year. They said they were glad that they didn't have to make the trip every day from their hometown to see their babies.
"If we didn't have the Ronald McDonald House, it'd have put more emotional stress on us," Eddie Phillips said.
The idea for the Ronald McDonald House came out of a fundraiser in 1974 by Fred Hill, then a Philadelphia Eagles player, for his daughter, Kim, who had leukemia. Local McDonald's restaurants got involved to help families of sick children find short-term lodging, starting a model for more than 350 houses internationally.
The Ronald McDonald House on Logan Avenue was the 13th nationwide when it opened on Feb. 14, 1987. Since then, the home has provided lodging for more than 10,000 families.
The new house would have 20 guest rooms with private bathrooms on two floors, two state-of-the-art kitchens, indoor and outdoor play areas, a large family dining room, an elevator and an outdoor dining and entertainment area.
"Having families nearby is critical for family-centered care, with studies consistently showing that the entire family copes better," Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said in a statement. "When families of critically ill children are together, there is better understanding of, and adherence to, complicated treatment plans for their child."