The new 40,000-square-foot facility will have 42 guest rooms on three floors, as well as a partial basement, communal space, and an outdoor recreation area. According to Rita Cyr, CEO, RMHC Dayton, thanks to the $13 million donation, construction could begin as soon as this fall, which is six months ahead of the original estimated schedule.
The new house will be built directly behind the existing facility on Valley Street, which Cyr said will remain open throughout the estimated 18-month construction period. Once the new facility is completed, the current building will be torn down, allowing for green space and the potential for additional expansion in the future.
Dayton has become a hub for pediatric healthcare with increased outpatient and specialty services driving growth in recent years, including the addition of Shriners Children’s Ohio, which moved to Dayton from Cincinnati in 2021.
Housing is a critical component of the continuum of care, but RMHC Dayton’s current facility across from Dayton Children’s Hospital’s main campus is unable to meet the growing need for its services, Cyr said.
“Last year, Ronald McDonald House had to turn away 63% of the families that came to us for housing,” Cyr said. “To know that we’re (no longer) going to have a waitlist, I can’t even imagine it, and I know the families are going to be so appreciative of this gift.”
Shellie Drake of Troy, a former guest of the Ronald McDonald House, shared her appreciation for RMHC Dayton during Wednesday’s event. Drake and her husband stayed in the house for months while their newborn daughter, Adelyn, was being treated at Dayton Children’s for multiple congenital defects.
“The Ronald McDonald House became our second home and we are so grateful for that,” Drake said. “They provided a welcoming place for my husband and I to learn to be a new family, to process our grief and our uncertainties, as our brand new daughter began her life living in the NICU and fighting.”
According to Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran, more than half of the families Ronald McDonald House serves are Medicaid eligible.
“Supporting every family’s needs, while providing essential health care for their children, is the goal,” Corcoran said.
Ohio’s participating Medicaid managed care plans include Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Buckeye Health Plan, Dayton-based CareSource, Molina HealthCare of Ohio and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.
CareSource President and CEO, Erhardt Preitauer and his wife, Kili Preitauer, Midwest Region President at ValueHealth, serve as co-chairs of the Ronald McDonald House Dayton capital campaign.
“Erhardt and Kili were essential to reaching this significant milestone, in record time,” Cyr said. “We are so grateful for their passion for this project and for the support from Ohio’s Medicaid managed care plans. Their collective effort demonstrates their commitment to meeting the needs of Ohio’s kids and families who rely on our services.”