Ronald McDonald House Expansion to Become Largest in the World
On Thursday, September 11, Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio hosted a VIP Ribbon Cutting celebration for all who contributed in some way to the expansion project. The beautiful evening included several speeches by the CEO of RMHC Global, local board members, and the CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which all highlighted the fact that this building is now the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. Guests were able to tour the 3 story addition to see how the new wing added 42 guest rooms, bringing the total number of units to 122. Some of the new units are already in use by families of children who are being treated in the hospital. The boisterous crowd enjoyed live music and catered food outside on the extended patio, experiencing the large fountain, unique play areas including the “Splash Pad,” and a visit from Ronald McDonald himself.
A special “Community Room” occupies each floor. The local company Thirty-One Gifts designed one room to be a place to provide free haircuts, and another was decorated by the wives of the Columbus Blue Jackets to look like a beautiful princess castle. The once individualized kitchens for families to cook for themselves was more than doubled in size and stocked with commercial equipment with the help of Cameron Mitchell and its kitchen consultant, Franke. This will now be used more frequently by volunteers to prepare larger meals for the guests. A basement under the expanded kitchen provides much needed storage area for donated goods.
The roof of the expansion is a garden terrace where families can find a quiet retreat after a difficult day at the hospital. It proved challenging to provide 2 means of egress off of this roof when the staff told us that it would double as an area for large parties and fundraisers. The engraved stone roof pavers, glass railing, gas fireplace and wood trellis are all features that enhance the terrace but required much coordination between donor companies, contractors and the ever-changing vision.
Other challenges of this project included:
- Using new materials that matched those used in the original house so that existing House and addition came together as a whole. - Being a charity, RMH relies on donations from the community. For this project, it relied on numerous businesses to donate building materials and services. Because of this, we had to keep on top of what supplier was contributing which products to the project, therefore sometimes requiring us to edit specifications and details weekly.
It was great to be a part of a project that is such an important place in Central Ohio. This building touches so many people’s lives that we will never know. If one person finds peace or happiness through the design of this House while going through what is probably one of the most difficult times of their life, then it was a rewarding project for me.
Experienced in a variety of types of projects, Melissa is an organized, proactive team player at M+A. Her favorite movie is Grease, and she loves the Cleveland Indians.