GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- The Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan has helped more than 13,000 families who need housing while seeking medical care in our state. Now the place that has helped so many is seeing a little help of it's own.
The Ronald McDonald House on Cedar Street NE in Grand Rapids is partnering with construction firm Elzinga & Volkers to launch a $1.2 million renovation.
FOX 17 got a tour of the Safe, Warm and Dry Project on Thursday.
The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan serves 17 families round the clock 365 days a year, and it hass seen better days, says Executive Director Marcie Lewis. The roof leaks when it rains, a problem families facing difficult times should not have to face.
Halfway through construction, the facility is still running at full capacity.
"It’s our mission to take care of all their daily needs so they can be relieved of all those daily stresses and focus on their ill and dying children," Lewis said.
"If we didn’t have this place to come to, we wouldn’t be able to see our daughter as much," said Jacob Weeks of Freeport, Mich. His brand new baby girl was born at 34 weeks, a preemie who has trouble breathing on her own.
"A lot of stress was relieved" by the Ronald McDonald House, he said, adding that he's able to stay at the house for free.
The Safe, Warm and Dry Project will ensure the for many years to come families like the Weeks have a secure and comfortable home away from home.
The renovation plans will not only save money for repairs in the future but will improve the living space and security features of the Ronald McDonald House, first built in 1990.
"It needed to be spiffed up," Lewis said.
A kitchen, dining room, 17 bathrooms and bedrooms will all get facelifts.
And there's more the facility will get:
- Interior Upgrades: New doors/hardware, LED light fixtures, floor coverings, paint, kitchen upgrades, and a reconfiguration of the office area.
- Safety & Security: A new state-of-the art security system, key card entry at all doors and guest rooms, security camera and fire alarm systems, as well as an emergency back-up power generator.
- HVAC: New energy efficient HVAC system, including individual temperature controls in every guest room to meet the needs of each family.
- Exterior: New siding, roof, windows, doors, energy-efficient exterior lighting and a new front entrance sidewalk with built-in snow melt system to ensure the house is accessible at all times.
Crews are "really trying to upgrade the facility so it’s good for another 25 years," said Mike Novakowski, the president and CEO of Elzinga a& Volkers Construction Professionals.
Construction is being done in phases over a nine-month period so families can still have place to stay during tough times.
"To be in a place where our community is offering such a wonderful gift for people who are struggling and need some place to go home, it’s incredibly rewarding," Novakowski said.
The project is in phase four of nine, and executive director Marcie Lewis tells us they're $200,000 short on funds, and the Ronald McDonald House runs completely on donations.
They also need funds to run the place throughout the year, Lewis tells FOX 17 that costs around $700,000.
If you would like to donate or volunteer at the house, call them at 616-776-1300 or visit their website.