After three decades of growth, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oklahoma City needed room to stretch out.
A second Ronald McDonald House will double the organization’s capacity to house families of children undergoing treatment. Construction began Thursday.
The 14-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot house is expected to be open by the end of the year.
In addition to private rooms, it will have a living space, a large kitchen and a laundry facility among other amenities. It will be on the third floor of Garrison Tower adjacent to The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.
“It should feel like a home,” said Lance Benham, Ronald McDonald House Charities advisory committee member. “When they come in, they will have a living room area, (and) a large generous kitchen area. There will be areas in the refrigerator and freezer, for example, where families can keep their own food. There will also be volunteers to cook meals. There is a TV area. The center zone of the house is a social place. It’s going to have what families will need.”
The organization’s original home in Oklahoma City — which opened 30 years ago and has seen many additions — will remain open.
The new house is expected to cost about $1.5 million and has been several years in the making.
“I’m hesitant to mention individual donors because I’m worried I might leave someone out, but there has been an amazing effort by so many people who put their time and patience in to get this done,” board chairman Tim Eisel said. “To see it come to fruition is amazing. Seeing the place we’re standing in now that is gutted — and knowing what it is going to look like — is a great feeling.”
Cameron Mantor, Children’s Hospital chief medical officer, said the relief on the faces of people who find out there is a resource like Ronald McDonald House available is something he has seen repeatedly during his stretch of more than two decades at the hospital.
“You see how it benefits families,” Mantor said. “I can’t tell you how important it is for parents to take care of themselves so they can help us take care of their kids. When they’re in the hospital for a week, if they don’t leave their child’s room for three or four days, they are a basket case. This facility gives them a place to rejuvenate themselves.”