The latest addition to the Ronald McDonald “campus” near Children’s Mercy Hospital will open its doors Thursday, offering free lodging for families of children needing medical care.
The 20 additional rooms will allow the charity to all but eliminate the waiting list of about 1,000 families a year who have been turned away.
“We will immediately be full when we open our doors,” said Holly Buckendahl, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City.
The house at 2525 Cherry St. is the third Ronald McDonald House on the block. An additional facility is inside Children’s Mercy. Together they can accommodate 87 families at one time.
The newest house is 21,000 square feet and costs about $5.6 million. Principal benefactors include Glenna and Jack Wylie, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, and area McDonald’s restaurants.
A public open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. A shuttle bus will run from a parking lot at the southeast corner of Oak Street and 27th Terrace.
The house was built on lots that once housed two run-down tenements, turning blight into something that will be an oasis for people dealing with stress or financial hardship or both.
The interior of the new house was largely tailored by Jennifer Bertrand of Olathe, a designer whose family has benefited from the Ronald McDonald House charity. Art was contributed by Chris Duh of Shawnee.
The house features private bathrooms, a large kitchen, quiet areas, bright colors and playrooms, including a shadow puppet theater.
“It needed to be happy,” Buckendahl said of the house.