Sod was turned over and what’s about to sprout up in its place is hoped to foster a brighter day for the province’s sick children.
The groundbreaking ceremony for Alberta’s first children’s hospice, Rotary/Flames House, was a standing-room only affair Monday as a parade of speakers trumpeted the benefits of the building, designed in direct consultation with the families of sick children who may one day find themselves healing and playing in the facility.
“This is such an important day for a great project,” said Rotary/Flames House manager Xina Chrapko, right next door to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. “It has been 10 years from the initial idea to this day, and we’re really hoping it will help sick children deal with their health problems in better ways.”
The facility, which is expected to take a year to be finished, will be 20,000 square feet, featuring 11 children’s rooms on the second floor, two family suites and play areas.
The final price tag for the building is expected to be about $12.5 million and a majority of the funding came from private donors.
Deputy premier Ron Stevens pledged $4.65 million from the province to bring the project to its full fundraising capacity and Calgary Flames president and CEO Ken King said it was an “honour” and a “great privilege” to be involved.
“Every time our players come near the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and they do often, and they will more often now, it is they that receive the inspiration and it has an unbelievable impact on them,” he said.