After conducting a feasibility study, it was decided that Evansville could benefit greatly from a Ronald McDonald House. One of 270 Ronald McDonald Houses globally, this house offers a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at hospitals in the Evansville area. The Ronald McDonald House Program gives families a comfortable, supportive alternative to the hospital setting.
Hafer integrated many features into the design to ensure this house feels like a home. The goal was to create an atmosphere that was a retreat from the clinical surroundings of a hospital and where families feel safe and comfortable. The design incorporates 10 bedrooms with private bathrooms, laundry facilities, play areas and prayer/reflection spaces. The kitchen and dining areas are also large enough to handle multiple families cooking at one time with an adjacent family room where loved ones can spend time together. The lighting throughout and landscaping, complete with a large patio and playground set, contribute to the residential feel of this house.
Another important aspect of the design was ensuring the house considered the health and environmental impact. The house incorporated many sustainable features including a geothermal system and achieved LEED Silver certification. This also aided in keeping operating costs low which is crucial for non-profit entities such as this.
Since opening, the Ronald McDonald House of the Ohio Valley has served over 1,000 critically ill children and their families and extended families annually. The positive impact this project has created is boundless.