Construction is expected to begin this year in Halifax on a new Ronald McDonald House for families whose children are being treated at the IWK Health Centre.
The new facility will be on South Street across from the children and women's hospital. It will have 36 bedrooms with the ability to accommodate 1,200 families a year — twice as many as the existing house on Tower Road.
The organization said the facility will help save families an estimated $3.6 million a year.
Eugene Pieczonka of Lydon Lynch Architects described the 40,000-square-foot facility at a virtual public meeting Tuesday night and said it will overlook Gorsebrook Park.
"The property actually drops over one storey," said Pieczonka. "That allowed us along the back to incorporate administrative offices as well as a fitness centre and games room for families."
Engineers to address traffic concerns
A couple members of the public raised questions about the impact of the new building on pedestrian safety and traffic, particularly school buses. Gorsebrook Junior High is located on South Street.
Coun. Waye Mason told the meeting that traffic engineers are working on solutions, including a bump-out for a new crosswalk.
"The added bonus for the neighbourhood is that it's traffic calming, too, because it will narrow the street at the point where it's quite wide and people go quite quickly," said Mason.
Construction expected to take 18 months
The CEO for Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic, Lori Barker, said the tender for the project will be issued next month with construction getting underway in September. Construction is expected to take around 18 months.
"Maybe we can shave a little off on that, but that's our realistic projection at this stage," said Barker.
Fundraising for public contributions of $3.5 million continues.
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