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WRITER: AMY HALVERSON
CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-3945
e-mail: thomas-moore@uiowa.edu

Release: May 3, 2001

Dedication and open house for renovated Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City planned

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Special guests, including Steve and Tanya Alford and Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), will join the staff and guests of the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City for a special dedication in honor of the House's recently completed renovations at 1 p.m. on May 6, with an open house following from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

House renovations were made possible by the "Here We Grow" capital campaign, chaired by John and Ellen Buchanan and honorary co-chairs, Steve and Tanya Alford. Supporters contributed $1.45 million to fund the renovation project, enabling the Ronald McDonald house to serve more families.

The Ronald McDonald House serves as a "home away from home" for families whose children are seeking medical care in the Iowa City community. In its 16th year of operation, the House has cared for more than 27,500 families from every county in Iowa, all 50 states and 26 foreign nations. The average length of stay for a family has risen from five days to 13 days.

"Expansion of the Ronald McDonald House helps Children’s Hospital of Iowa meet the needs of our patients’ families," Frank Morriss, M.D., professor and head, University of Iowa department of pediatrics. "As we plan for new services, especially for oncology families, the expansion could not come at a better time."

The cornerstone of the House’s success is that families interact with other families facing similar challenges. The House opened in 1985 with 21 guestrooms and one family suite to accommodate 22 families per night. The need for their services has grown each year to the point that waiting lists are normal and families were turned away each month due to insufficient space. Today, with the addition of six guestrooms and four family suites, the House offers support and accommodations to 32 families nightly.

Other features included in the renovations include: an elevator, which makes the whole house accessible; accessible playground in immediate view of the house; exterior fitness equipment; a completely renovated, enlarged kitchen; a new deck off the kitchen; emergency generator; security locks; security cameras; new heat, air conditioning and ventilation systems; an open stairwell to enlarged recreation room; a multi-purpose meeting room; increased technology access for families; two new laundry rooms; an enlarged family services office; increased storage; and roof replacement. The Ronald McDonald House remained open during the entire project.

For additional information, contact Ed Zastrow at (319) 356-3939.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.