Last year, the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford announced its plans for expansion, which will make it the largest Ronald McDonald branch in the world. Construction is underway and the Stanford house is projected to be completed in spring 2016.
A topping-off ceremony last Wednesday, Aug. 5, marked the entrance into the final phase of construction. At the ceremony, workers placed the final truss, signed by hundreds of supporters, on the top of the construction, symbolizing the end of the structural work.
The idea of expanding started 10 years ago, when the Stanford house executives had to turn down an average of 40 to 50 families each night. The new house will nearly triple the number of guest rooms from 47 to 123.
“It was after an expansion that we got to the 47 rooms we have now, so we thought at that point there would a little bit of breathing room, and there really wasn’t much,” said Annette Eros, chief executive officer of the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. “We knew at that time we needed to start looking toward the future to start figuring out what solutions we needed for the families that need us.”
The house’s team explored many possible locations for the expansion and eventually received a donation from Stanford for the land next to the house’s current location. The building’s framework will be finished by the end of 2015, after which the design process will begin.
“At that point, [Vance Brown Construction] pretty much hands us they keys, and we’ve got to come in and make it become a Ronald McDonald House,” Eros said. “That process will probably take us through next spring.”
The Stanford house has partnered with the San Francisco Design Center, which has also worked with the Ronald McDonald House in Long Island, to outfit the new building. Fifty-one designers have signed up to be a part of the project. The Center will help create different spaces within the building, such as a computer room, a massage room and a playroom for elementary school children.
“This partnership has been a blessing for us,” Eros said. “The designers are all coming together to help the families so that when they walk into our new space, it feels inviting, comforting and relaxing.”
In addition to the 67-room expansion, the Ronald McDonald House is planning to add nine extra family rooms to its existing space and adjust the interior of the building so it matches the new one.
“We’d like the feel of this building to reflect the feel of the new building, so it doesn’t feel like one is old and one is new,” Eros said.
The entire expansion project will cost a total of $40.5 million. With financial support and donations from many organizations as well as the surrounding community, the Stanford house has almost reached its goal. At the topping-off ceremony, the house announced a donation from Taube Philanthropies that will help reach the 87-percent marker of the total sum.
Founded by Stanford alumni Tad Taube ’54 M.S. ’59, Taube Philanthropies is a charity that focuses on helping underserved adolescents. It has already donated an initial $1 million and promises to match an additional $2 million if the community raises the same amount. In total, $5 million would be contributed to the house.
“The impact in philanthropy is really like the profit in a corporate setting: If you don’t make a profit, you don’t stay in business,” Taube said. “Here at the Ronald Mcdonald House, the impact is all around us.”
The Ronald McDonald House provides rooms for families of critically ill young patients at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Families stay in private rooms and have access to amenities such as dining rooms, a library and a fitness center.
Donations toward the project can be made by contacting chief development officer Jay McCullough or visiting the campaign website.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Larriva Productions and stated that the $40.5 million cost covered the entire development project, not just the expansion project. The Daily regrets these errors.
Contact Yuki Klotz-Burwell at klotzburwell.yuki ‘at’ gmail.com.