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Contemporary Look for Nemours Ronald McDonald House


Since the Nemours Hospital in Lake Nona is more like a giant colorful child’s play toy than a hospital, it seems only fitting that the new Ronald McDonald house depart from the large Victorian farmhouse look as well. Currently under construction in Orlando, this one is three stories of sharp angles, colored-glass panels and suites for families instead of one-bedroom accommodations, both a residential kitchen for guests and a commercial kitchen for volunteers and support groups. It will also have public meeting space for fundraising and other activities, a playground and garden.

The design relates to the sweeping linear style of buildings in the adjacent district. Chandler said the more sophisticated look reflects not only on Nemours Hospital but also the other medical and research institutions that anchor Lake Nona’s medical complex. (Search this Blog for posts on other Lake Nona buildings.)

“I think, in our mind, this has always been planned as a showcase both for this community and the country,” said SchenkelShultz architect Tom Chandler , who has worked on all three Orlando Ronald McDonald Houses. “The initial ones in Orlando were more residential in character. This one needed to be more institutional, embracing an environmental design.” The building is slated to earn an environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The contemporary materials will minimize upkeep costs, compared to wood spindles, brackets, ornament and turned columns.

As medical treatments for cancer, neonatal and trauma have become more involved through the years, guest stays now extend for weeks or months. Some have called the temporary quarters their home for more than a year, so suites made more sense, said LouAnn DeVoogd , president of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida . “It allows some normalcy for the family,” DeVoogd said. “It allows them to work remotely, if they need to, during longer stays.”

The first phase is expected to accommodate 15 families with about 21,000 square feet on the first two floors. Plans call for capacity to double with an additional 7,700 square feet on a future 3rd floor.

In addition to SchenkelShultz Architecture, other companies working on the project include DPR Construction , TLC Engineering, BBM Structural Engineers Inc. , Ramski & Company Interior Design and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc.

Here is a link to donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida Inc. They have raised $5.4 million toward the project’s $6.7 million cost, please help them reach their goal!:

Here is a link to the article by Mary Shanklin in The Orlando Sentinel: or 407-420-5538

Here is a link to the SchenkelShultz Architecture website:

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