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Construction on the Ronald McDonald Family Room getting underway

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See the ceremonial hammer swing for the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the video above. | Courtesy photo

IDAHO FALLS – After a construction kickoff and ceremonial hammer swing Monday afternoon, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is on its way to becoming a reality in Idaho Falls.

The Family Room, which provides a home-like environment for parents and families of children receiving treatment, will be built inside a medical office building connected to EIRMC on the corner of Sunnyside Road and Channing Way. It is slated for completion at the end of the summer.

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Speakers at Monday’s event included EIRMC CEO Jeff Solis and Darren Kyle, a Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho board member.

Kyle tells the facility fills a major need for people in eastern Idaho. It has been in the works for about eight years.

“So many families who travel to Boise to use the (Ronald McDonald House) there come from this side of the state. Use of their services has continued to increase, which then makes the need for our services (in eastern Idaho) even greater,” Kyle says.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room will include a quiet place for parents and families to sleep, take a shower, do laundry, watch TV, or take a nap.

Children need family most when they are sick, says Mindy Plumlee, executive director at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho, and this facility will help keep families together during those critical times.

“We will have multiple opportunities to help out all those families,” Kyle says.

Morgan and Chris Kuhn of Rexburg spent a week in the Boise location last June after the premature birth of their child in March. Baby Emerson was immediately transferred from Madison Memorial Hospital to EIRMC, where she stayed for several months before being sent to Boise.

“I’d heard so many great things from people who had stayed there about how accommodating and great the staff is. That’s exactly what I got and more,” Morgan said at the construction kickoff. “It was nice to have someone there to take care of me so that I was able to take care of Emerson during that week.”

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Since fundraising efforts for the family room began, Ernie Unger, the committee chair for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho, says the organization has less than $100,000 remaining to reach its $766,000 goal.

The 2,800-square-foot Family Room will be staffed by RMHC of Idaho employees and community volunteers.

“It will be a fantastic benefit to the community,” says Kyle. “With EIRMC being so passionate about continuing the expansion of their services, the opportunities for families to use our services will continue to grow. We’re so happy to partner with them so people, in general, don’t have to travel outside of the area.”