Work begins on new Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald leads dignitaries in the ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday morning / photo: Brandon Roth

A local children's charity is getting a new home, after overcoming years of obstacles.

Groundbreaking took place Thursday morning for the long-planned Ronald McDonald House in Syracuse. The new facility on East Genesee Street will replace the current structure a short distance away. When completed, the new Ronald McDonald House will have more than double the number of rooms than the current facility.

Beth Trunfio, executive director of Ronald McDonald House of Central New York, says the new house will greatly expand the number of families they can care for.

"I'm so excited that we will be able to meet the needs of even more families who come to Syracuse for expert and specialized medical care," she says.The current RMH has 16 bedrooms. The new facility will have the capacity for 39 guest rooms with private baths, a large family centered kitchen, a private guest registration area, and a community room. The new building will be 100 percent handicapped accessible.

The new Ronald McDonald House has been years in the making . Supporters have had to overcome several obstacles, including a lengthy fight over efforts to label the empty building demolished to make way for the House a "landmark".

Fundraising has also been a challenge in the tough economy of the past couple of years. Organizers have gotten close enough to their fundraising goal that construction can now begin, but donations are still needed.

The Ronald McDonald House provides free accommodations for out of town families of children undergoing medical treatment in Syracuse. Construction on the new house is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012.