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Ronald McDonald House Reconstruction Finished in 11 Days

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Just 11 days after groundbreaking the reconstruction of the Ronald McDonald house is complete. Workers started on September 11 and are putting on the finishing touches Friday, September 22.

There were anywhere from 75 to over 150 workers on the construction site 24/7.

For the project they used 450 tons of asphalt, 800 gallons of paint, 3,500 sheets of drywall, 1,700 square yards of carpet, 1,440 square feet of stone and 10,600 square feet of siding.

This house is much more than what it’s made of to the families who rely on the Ronald McDonald House services during treatment at the hospital.

Cora Lahr and her family stayed in the old house for 100 days when her son Emmett was being treated.

"The whole community has come together to build this. It is absolutely mind blowing to me. But as a past family it is such a blessing and it's so awesome for the people that are going to use this. And the fact that so many people care about the house and they've reached out to these people to build it," Lahr said.

The old house only had 12 rooms and the new house has 18.

With the additional rooms, they hope to have enough space for all the families that need it.

“We were running at capacity and we were putting up families in a nearby hotel. So at that time I had conversations with Rick Tollakson at Hubbell Realty and asked about adding on to the building. But when he came and toured, he said you don’t need to add on, you really need a new building,” Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Brenda Miller said

Rick Tollakson, the CEO and President of Hubbell Realty Company said they spent about a year planning and designing the new house.

"We wanted the house to feel more like a home. The ones that we toured down in Kansas City had that more home feel to them. And the other one was a little more institutional. This new one has two large kitchen areas, it has a family recreation area. It's just more comfortable for the families. These kids and families are going through a lot and the key is to make them feel more comfortable here," Tollakson said.

Even though they hope to put all of the finishing touches on by 5 p.m. on Friday, families will not be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House until November because the elevator still needs to be put in place.

In the meantime the families are staying at HCI Care Services until they can move into the new house.