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Barnhart to Begin Construction on $35M McDonald House

Construction on an extraordinary structure for families with sick kids undergoing treatment at local hospitals will soon be under way in Kearny Mesa.

San Diego-based general contractor Barnhart Inc. will begin building a $35 million, 60,000-square-foot Ronald McDonald House atop the new parking structure at Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego.

The top of the structure, one story above grade at street level on the hospital campus and several stories high in the rear along Interstate 805, will become the site of a unique residence for families with kids undergoing treatment at area hospitals.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego said it has outgrown its existing facility that offers a home away from home free to those families that have no other way to stay close to treatment facilities.

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Any family in need with a seriously ill child being treated locally is eligible to stay at the house. The facility helps eliminate costly hotel and food bills.

The alternative would be long hours spent sleeping in waiting rooms or cars and eating vending-machine food.

The existing facility, located adjacent to Rady Children’s Hospital on Frost Street and Children’s Way, features 12 bedrooms, laundry and kitchen facilities in 8,000 square feet.

The residential structure, which opened in 1980, has provided more than 100,000 nights of lodging to more than 10,000 families.

Bill Lennartz, president and chief executive officer of the charity, said 100 families are turned away each month. He said he anticipates the new building would prevent him from turning away families.

Make Lives Easier

“We want to get it done for those 100 families and make their lives easier,” he said.

The project features 60,000 square feet of space consisting of 40,000 square feet of interior space, including 47 bedrooms, kitchen, computer lab and laundry facilities, plus an additional 20,000 square feet of courtyard and patio space, all atop a six-story, 1,000-space steel and concrete parking structure.

The new house was designed by San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates. It will be built with many green features, including solar panels and use of environmentally friendly paints, carpets and adhesives.

Ronald McDonald House Charities said it has secured construction financing from San Diego-based North Island Credit Union, according to F. Gregory Pyke, a partner with the San Diego office of law firm Best Best & Krieger. Pike provides pro bono legal services to Ronald McDonald House.

“With the growth in the area, the need has been very great to seriously increase the size of the house,” said Pyke.

A capital campaign will be launched in the spring to pay for project costs. Construction is estimated to be completed by year-end 2008.


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