Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana celebrates grand opening of Ronald McDonald House near University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana celebrates grand opening of Ronald McDonald House near University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital

New 'home away from home' holds nearly twice as many families as original

December 13, 2007

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC® -CNI) is proud to announce the grand opening of its latest addition--a new Ronald McDonald House near the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

The 22-bedroom, 30,000-square-foot House brings an end to the charity's three-year period of temporary residence while the University of Chicago Medical Center and the charity undertook expansion projects to enhance their ability to serve families and patients with more complicated medical needs and lengthier hospital stays.

The Ronald McDonald House originally opened its doors in Hyde Park on September 12, 1986. The two-story, 12-bedroom House was the second in Chicago. 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 in partnership with the University of Chicago Medical Center, the House relocated to a temporary location. On the site of the old house, the medical center built the state-of-the-art Comer Children's Emergency Room. In July of 2006, the charity broke ground for the new, larger House which will provide even more families--from as far away as Japan and Dubai--a "home away from home."

"We are thrilled to finally move families into our beautiful new permanent home in Hyde Park," said Doug Porter, chief executive officer, RMHC-CNI. "Our years of serving the growing and diverse needs of families with children receiving medical treatment influenced every aspect of this House's design. The state-of-the-art House provides all the comforts and amenities of a 'home away from home' which allows the families to focus on what's most important--the well-being of their child."

The new Victorian-style home is nearly double the size of the original House. Of the 22 bedrooms--each with a private bath--15 accommodate up to five people, allowing for siblings or grandparents to join the parents. The House also features a chapel for quiet reflection and age-appropriate playrooms, including one for toddlers, one for teens and a computer room. Wireless Internet service runs throughout the House.

"The Ronald McDonald House plays a critical role in a child's medical recovery," said David Hefner, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. "Studies show that children recover much faster when their parents are nearby, and there's nothing that a parent of a hospitalized child wants more than a speedy recovery."

In its 21 years of operation in Hyde Park, the House has provided a "home away from home" for more than 7,700 families, hailing from all 50 states and various international locations, whose children are receiving medical treatment at Comer Children's Hospital.

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. Half of the families who stay at the House near Comer Children's Hospital are guests multiple times.

This House is one of four in the Chicago area that are operated by RMHC-CNI. The other Houses are located near Children's Memorial Hospital, near Loyola University Medical Center and the fourth is under construction near Advocate Hope Children's Hospital.

RMHC-CNI partnered with the architectural firm Pappageorge/Haymes Ltd, The Meyne Company as General Contractor and the interior design firm of Gensler to design and build the 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. RMHC-CNI provides 18,000 family nights annually through its four Ronald McDonald Houses, providing a "home away from home" for families whose children are in treatment at area hospitals. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® program, taking medical care directly to underserved communities, provides thousands of free medical treatments, and the RMHC-CNI Scholarship program, awards 40 4-year college scholarships to area students who are academically talented but with little financial resources. For more information, visit

About Comer Children's Hospital

Comer Children's Hospital opened the doors in February 2005. The 242,000 square feet, 155 bed, seven-story facility more than doubles the space of the previous children's hospital. It is home to nationally recognized programs in neurology, oncology/hematology, cardiology, neonatology, transplantation and other medical and surgical specialties.