Southern Colorado Ronald McDonald House
"The entire team at RTA has been amazing to work with. THANK YOU for your dedication and commitment to designing our new Ronald McDonald House.”
Beth Alessio, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado (RMHC SC) serves families of critically ill children across southern Colorado and beyond. Due to the rapid growth of the Colorado Springs community, local healthcare systems are rapidly expanding NICU and pedatric services.RMHC SC acquired land within the campus of the new Children’s Hospital to construct a new larger House to keep families as close as possible during their child's medical treatment.
The design team began by conducting an "immersion process" of existing facilities; observing user behavior, guest flow, staff efficiency, and comfort levels, along with the architecture of existing spaces to identify improvements. The crowded, dark, and noisy spaces were cumbersome and experienced significant wear and tear. However, there was a persistent feeling of comfort similar to that of grandma’s house.
The design team first outlined unique and tangible goals for the new facility. The “house” was a commercial building that had to exhibit a warm residential feel. It had to offer families a sense of familiarity and privacy while offering flexible solutions to a bustling volunteer and administrative staff. To conquer these challenges, design focused on providing durability and flexibility without compromising comfort.
The heart of any home is the kitchen and dining area. During the immersion process, this space was identified as the key gathering space; a command center where families gathered to reorganize and recover. The new facilities incorporated ample storage with a walk-in pantry and multiple workstations for food prep, cooking, serving, and clean up. The kitchen/dining space was paired with plenty of daylighting and open sight lines to support family connection. A warm fireplace anchors the dining/ lobby spaces and is often used as a photo backdrop for successful families departing the house.
The timeless color palette and comfortable durable furnishings keep the spaces airy while catering to rough-and-tumble family activity. Guest rooms boast soft textures, tasteful furniture, and accessible en-suite restrooms. Spacious halls are designed to handle future expansion. A children’s play zone sports a multi-color mural and resilient flooring to handle any messes, while teens have their own separate game room. Admin areas incorporate generous storage areas for donations. Interiors are enlivened with pops of playful color and custom art. Materials were selected for reliance and tactile comfort. The outdoor landscape incorporated all the beloved features of the old facility, including walking paths, a BBQ grill, playground, and half-basketball court and features incredible views of nearby Pikes Peak.
Ultimately, the design celebrates the Southern Colorado Ronald McDonald’s spirit of comfort by opening up the space and bringing it to life with practical and comfortable solutions.
- Square footage: 25,000 sf
- Project cost: $6.1M
- Collaborative design process
- 20 family suites with the ability to expand to 30
- Full accessiblity on the ground level
- Secure welcoming entry
- Two full kitchens
- Dining room and living room with double-sided fireplace
- Children's play area, treasure room, and reading nook
- Teen room
- Family room
- Outdoor seating, play area, and barbeque grill
- Walking paths
- Laundry rooms
- Support spaces and storage
- Capacity to serve 650 families annually
- Photography by Vic Moss