Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana break ground for a new house

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana break ground for new house

July 19, 2006

On its 20th year of serving the growing and diverse needs of families with children receiving medical attention and as a dedicated partner to the Hyde Park community, the Ronald McDonald House near the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital is getting a new home of its own.

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) is breaking ground on a new and improved House, set to open in late 2007. The Victorian-style home, complete with a wrap-around porch and turrets, will occupy 30,000 square feet and will have 22 bedrooms, almost double the original House. Additionally, the new House will provide a private bathroom for each bedroom, a chapel for quiet reflection, a computer room and wireless Internet throughout the House, and age appropriate playrooms donated by Sweet Hope Chicago. Fifteen of the bedrooms sleep up to five people to accommodate siblings or grandparents.

"This house is in large part due to a significant gift of millions of dollars from the University of Chicago Hospitals," said Doug Porter, CEO RMHC-CNI. "The added space and state-of-the-art amenities provide the comforts of home to even more families so they can focus on what's most important--the well-being of their child."

During the last 20 years, the House has hosted families from all 50 states and as far away as Kuwait and Israel. The length of the typical visit has increased from just a few days to 10 days due, in part, to a change in the ratio of patients who need routine procedures compared to those who are critically ill. More and more children whose families stay at the House need the specialized care Comer Children's Hospital provides.

"Keeping in mind our family-focused mission, we place the comfort and well-being of the families of our patients as one of our highest priorities," said Thomas McGrath, Vice President and Director of the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

"As Comer Children's Hospital continues to serve more patients from around the country and around the world, having a place for families to call home away from home is vital to our mission. The evolution of the House is truly reflective of the growing needs of families and the expanded services of Comer and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana," he said.

The original two-story, 12-bedroom House opened its doors on September 13, 1986. Within a year, the House was filled to capacity with long wait lists. In 1990, an additional floor was added providing six more bedrooms. In 2004, the House, in partnership with Comer Children's Hospital, relocated to a temporary location as Comer builds a state-of-the-art Pediatric Emergency Department.

"For 20 years, the Hyde Park neighborhood has benefited from the community-oriented service of both Comer and RMHC-CNI," said 5th Ward Alderwoman Leslie A. Hairston. "Their partnership is a beacon of light for our community."

RMHC-CNI partnered with architectural firm Pappageorge/Haymes Ltd. and Gensler for the interior design.

Last month, Comer Children's Hospital and RMHC-CNI celebrated a first-of-its-kind event in Chicago by opening seven new rooms inside the hospital, just steps way from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to serve families of the most critically-ill children. These rooms are considered an extension of the existing Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children's Hospital.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to improving the health, well-being and education of children in its area. For more information, visit

On September 13, 1986, the doors opened to the Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children's Hospital.

About Comer Children's Hospital
Comer Children's Hospital opened the doors in February 2005 to the 242,000 square feet, 155 bed, seven-story facility more than doubling the space of the previous children's hospital.