Watchdog has been working with the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House on their expansion project since 2015. Our team has been onboard since the early planning stages. The complex project is nearing occupation and we are thrilled at the progress and results.
When completed, the expansion project will bring the House’s occupancy from 45 rooms to 127 rooms. The first phase of occupancy begins early this year. A portion of the first floor and floors 2-4 will be released in early 2019. The second floor consists of 8 guest room suites, which are fitted for longer-term families. Floors 3-8 will consist of 16 guest rooms each. The rest of the floors will open on a phased schedule. Floors 6-8 were not originally going to be fit out, due to fundraising needs. However, the House received a large donation which provided funding for these rooms to be completed. Floors 6-8 will not be occupied this year.
The expansion will also feature an “Imuno” floor. The entire floor uses special materials and designs to make the space more sanitary. Special paints are used, all surface materials are wipeable, hard flooring is used rather than carpet and many other thoughtful solutions are utilized to keep the floor hygienic for the families of patients with immunodeficiency diseases. The floor has its own HVAC system to prevent cross-contamination.
As the House prepares to open, they are also building up their staff and infrastructure. Many new employees have already been hired and will continue to be hired as staffing continues. The house is training all employees, existing and new employees, on the new practices that will be adopted as a result of the large expansion.
The housing expansion is taking place in the newly constructed tower, which will surround and attach to the existing structures. Once the tower is complete, renovations will begin on the existing US Healthcare Center. Renovations will transform the existing space into common areas: play areas for multiple age groups, a fitness center, a theater, team rooms and more.
The new commercial-grade kitchen will be installed, featuring all new equipment. It will be able to accommodate larger groups of volunteers who prepare the meals for the families staying at the house. The dining room will increase significantly, to accommodate the additional headcount at the house.
The outdoor plaza area, which is currently under construction, will feature a garden with multi-functional areas and spaces. There will be a play area for children, a quiet area for rest, and many activity spaces. The goal is to maximize the outdoor space to accommodate as many needs and activities as possible.
Watchdog is proud to be part of this project, not only because of its complex nature but also because of its mission. The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House supports families of critically ill children by providing a home for families while children are undergoing treatment.