July 8, 2013
The Charlottesville Ronald McDonald House is preparing for an eight-month, full-house renovation.
Thousands upon thousands of families have been in and out of the Ronald McDonald House over the past 32 years, and it's been 22 years since the décor and mechanical systems have been updated. The house provides a place for families to stay while their child is staying at the hospital.
The eight-month renovation will be done in four phases, starting with the top floor of four floors. In the end, each bedroom will have its own bathroom, there will be four kitchen stations instead of two, and there will be more seating for families in the kitchen area, among other changes. The primary renovation will be one extra bedroom, bringing the total up to 19 rooms for families.
The only downside to the renovations is that only nine families will be able to stay in the house instead of the usual 18, but this work will set up the house for years to come.
"For many families, we're sort of the welcoming committee to Charlottesville," said Rita Ralston, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House. "They arrive here because they have a sick child or a baby that is delivered too early and they don't know anyone and where they are we are sort of the home away from home for them."
The Ronald McDonald House will be working with families to find hotel discounts locally until the 19 room facility is fully running again.