COMING TOGETHER - Larry Mathieson

Ronald McDonald more than just a house

The new Ronald McDonald house is more than just an ordinary house.

At a cost of about $12 million, the 11-suite facility will be built to hospital standards to ensure the wellness of children who are recuperating from illness as well as the family members staying with them.

“When you build a house like this we have some unique challenges, and one of those challenges is because of the kids that we will serve we have to build a facility that takes into account things like the air handling system and filtration,” said Larry Mathieson, executive director of Ronald McDonald House for southern Alberta. “When you’re designing a building like this some of the costs are very similar to those of a hospital.”

He added another challenge cost-wise for the Ronald McDonald House is trying to make the facility seem like a home and not an institution.

“For anybody that stays in this house we want it to feel as much like home as possible,” said Mathieson. “You have the additional costs with trying to design a building that takes into consideration those more industrial type needs but also a place that takes on the look and feel of someone’s home.”

He added the site of the Ronald McDonald House (3908 50 Ave.) has also been a challenge.

“The lot slopes way down to Gaetz Avenue but it also slopes like a saddle as well,” said Mathieson, adding officials with the Ronald McDonald House almost walked away from that location more than once because of its development challenges. “We considered those factors but the proximity to the hospital was such an important factor for us. We want the house to be so close that the families can walk to and from the hospital essentially.”

Operating costs for the Ronald McDonald House will cost about $1.1 million annually.

“This will not only be for the maintenance of the house, but we have programs that run for the families,” said Mathieson. “These will include education programs and we’ve seen the value of these programs in other houses, so we are planning to have them from the get go.”

Mathieson anticipates the home will serve upwards of 400 families each year.

Families are charged $12 per night to stay there.

“The cost to provide the services are quite a bit more – in Red Deer it’ll probably be $100 a night and that difference we make up by fundraising,” said Mathieson. “However, we don’t ever turn a family away if they can’t afford to pay the $12. If families are eligible for support from the province than we help them get that and if they are not eligible and they just can’t pay it then we eat that cost.”

In addition, fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House is going well, but more donations are needed.

“We have about $11.1 million raised so that really gives us 10 months to raise the last $900,000,” said Mathieson. “We’re fairly optimistic as the community has been very generous.”

The Ronald McDonald House is expected to open in Red Deer next fall.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

‘Mitts don’t just warm hands. They warm hearts’: Mitts for Many Program launches

Donate new or lightly used mittens to bin in the Great Hall of the Gary W. Harris Centre

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony welcomes athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official opening of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vehicle theft from dealership

Police were able to disable the SUV with assistance from the built-in vehicle assistance system

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

LOCATED: Innisfail RCMP looking for missing woman

Amanda Kucher was last seen at the Innisfail 7-Eleven on Feb. 15

Red Deer College transforms into Athletes’ Village

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alberta minor hockey team, slammed for Indigenous dance video, forfeits season

Parents say season was too dangerous to finish because the team has been threatened

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

January home sales were weakest since 2015, average national price falls: CREA

CREA says the national average price for all types of residential properties sold in January was $455,000

Most Read