AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Ground was broken today, officially beginning the construction phase of the new Ronald McDonald House of Amarillo.
After decades of housing families with children in need of medical care, it is time for a new house.
According to the Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Shelley Cunningham, “The Ronald McDonald House in Amarillo is almost 40 years old, and it’s amazing that we were one of the first 50 Ronald McDonald Houses. When we began really studying the things that need to be replaced in our house, our board really determined that starting over would be the best way to utilize our resources, and the best way to keep the future for the longest amount of time.”
During the transition, with the original facility out of use, families have been housed in a temporary location.
“We opted to not shut our doors completely during the reconstruction. We are housing families just down the street at the Winchester Apartments, and our staff is working from offices over there,” said Marketing Director Luke Oliver.
It should take about a year to complete the construction and open the doors to families.
“This time next year we would like to be opening the doors to the new house. We will definitely see how the construction process goes, but we are going to aim for about a year until we will be able to serve families in the new house,” said Oliver.
When I asked if they were excited for new beginnings, Oliver said “That’s definitely how we are looking at it. It’s more of a new beginning than a goodbye, I mean, we have had more than 70,000 nights of care for families since we opened here, and while the house is no longer here, we’re excited to see this as the transition into a new chapter for what this holds for our charity.”
Cunningham adds “It just helps me think about just how many families we are going to be able to serve from all over the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas. The new house will be set to serve more of the pediatric oncology kids, more of the immuno-suppressed kids, and it will just have, hopefully, everything that we can help relieve the stress from families with sick kids.”
“Just getting to think about our vision on paper coming to fruition, coming to reality, seeing a house that will better be able to serve families for decades to come.” said Oliver.
This is not just a new building, but a vision into the future.
“It really is,” said Cunningham. “We have learned so much in the last 40 years, what families need, how best to keep families together while they are caring for their ill child.”
Turning over new ground at this site turns a new leaf on the future of blessing families with sick children that need the comforts of home.
That’s what the Ronald McDonald House does, and that’s what they are going to do for generations to come, now that’s some good news.