Crews Complete Phase 1 of New Ronald McDonald House

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COLUMBIA - The new Ronald McDonald House, located at 3501 Lansing Avenue, opened up Wednesday for a sneak peek of what crews have completed so far.  The charity showed off the completion of Phase 1 of its plan called "Building a House to Call Home." Ronald McDonald House Charities) broke ground just more than a year ago in September 2011.

The old building is located off Stadium Boulevard and has nine bedrooms. The new house will have double the bedrooms and include one extended-stay apartment.

The construction completed as part of Phase 1 includes the building of foundation walls, electrical wiring and installation of sewage lines.

The new Columbia house will be walking distance from the MU Children's Hospital.

For Brooke and her daughter Ashton, the new house means a lot more than a construction project. Ashton was born premature and for the first few months of her life her family lived in a Ronald McDonald House.

Ashton is now 11 and still appreciates the refuge the house was for her family and is excited to see other families have the same opportunity. She sported a shirt that read, "I'm a preemie."

"Its just amazing. I'm so happy that they're building another house for the people who need to stay near their children," Ashton said.

Mary Ebert is the co-chair of the Capitol Campaign for the Ronald McDonald House. She has volunteered with the organization for ten years.

"I am very excited it's been a long time coming. And I'll be even more excited when we get the funds to finish off the house and can open to families," Ebert said.

Ebert said right now RMHC has 18-20 families on their waiting list.

"Our motivation for building was our old house was 30 years old. It flooded in the floods of 2010. We had to make a decision; to refurbish that one or start a new one...We needed an elevator, we needed wider corridors, we needed private bathrooms in each room. We didn't have ample parking so the choice was easy we had to build a new house," Ebert said.

Employees of Veterans United Home Loans collected supplies such as small appliances and household products to go in the new house. VUHL employees unloaded those items Wednesday at the open house. Earlier this year VUHL pledged $50,000 to the new house.