Cadence Health is moving ahead with plans to bring a Ronald McDonald House to the Western suburbs.
The health system has asked Winfield to approve a planned development so the house could be constructed across the street from Central DuPage Hospital. On Thursday night, the village board forwarded the request to the plan commission.
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If built, the 18,000-square-foot structure will be the fifth Ronald McDonald House in the Chicago area.
"The whole purpose of a Ronald McDonald House is to provide a home away from home for families during their child's medical treatment," said Doug Porter, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
The nonprofit group is partnering with Cadence Health to build the house.
The facility, named Ronald McDonald House near Cadence Health -- CDH Campus, will provide low-cost or free housing for families who travel great distances to get treatment for seriously ill or injured children at CDH, Delnor Hospital in Geneva and a cancer treatment campus in Warrenville.
"We serve the families so they can take care of their kids," said Porter, who then referred to a study that shows children heal faster when their parents are with them.
Larry Bell, vice president of construction for Cadence Health, said two existing buildings along the west side of Winfield Road will be demolished in the next six to eight weeks to make room for the house.
Bell said the goal is to break ground next year and open the house by early 2015.
Plans call for the house to have private bedrooms and bathrooms for 12 families, along with a communal living room, kitchen, dining room, recreational spaces and laundry facilities. A vegetable garden and an orchard are planned for a spot immediately south of the house.
While the plans must go through the formal review process, Winfield trustees already are voicing their support.
"Cadence Health just continues to wow Winfield with innovative thinking and state-of-the-art solutions to problems," Trustee Tony Reyes said on Thursday night. "Having a Ronald McDonald House in our community is such a huge, wonderful gift."
Even if Winfield approves the project, an estimated $5.6 million must be raised to pay for the house.
The Cadence Health Foundation, which seeks philanthropic gifts to advance health care, is supporting a push by Central DuPage Hospital's auxiliary to collect $5 million for the building's construction. Ronald McDonald House Charities is raising the rest of the money.
While Ronald McDonald House Charities will manage and operate the house, Cadence Health Foundation will help efforts to raise money for operational expenses.