The new Ronald McDonald House at Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and the Glenridge Connector is a 31-bedroom facility.
The new Ronald McDonald House at Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and the Glenridge Connector is a 31-bedroom facility.

The new Ronald McDonald House on Pill Hill will begin serving families of ailing children on Dec. 21.

The 31-bedroom facility at Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and the Glenridge Connector also includes a three-story interior “treehouse” play area for children. It is more than three times the size of the original house that began operations on the site in 1994.

“We dreamed big in imagining a modern facility that would meet all the needs of more families coping with sick children,” Javier Goizueta, a board member of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities and its capital campaign chair, said in a press release. “We hope it will be a safe haven for healing for those who need it to be their home away from home in the coming years.”

Ronald McDonald Houses around the country provide free or low-cost housing to families of children who are undergoing treatment at nearby hospitals. In the case of the Sandy Springs facility, that’s Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. The houses are run by chapters of an Illinois-based nonprofit that is separate from, but heavily supported by, the McDonald’s fast-food company.

ARMHC opened an Atlanta house in 1979, followed by the Peachtree-Dunwoody location—originally an 11-bedroom house—in 1994. Both saw heavy demand and wait lists, leading to the construction of new facilities in recent years. The Atlanta house, near CHOA’s Egleston site, was rebuilt with 50 bedrooms in 2008.

Efforts to expand the Pill Hill house began more than a decade ago. Fulton County approved the project in 2005, prior to the existence of the city of Sandy Springs. But a lawsuit from neighbors delayed it. The groundbreaking finally came last year.

“A larger facility was needed to fulfill an ever-increasing need,” the ARMHC press release said.

The “treehouse” inside the new Ronald McDonald House in Pill Hill. Photo Randy Maxwell

The new house is about 53,000 square feet in size and cost more than $15 million. A notable design element is the “treehouse”—a play area designed like a tree that stands three stories tall in a lobby area.

All rooms have private baths. The facility includes common areas, a kitchen, a dining room, and arts/crafts and activity room, a laundry and a conference room. In addition, a community room will be available to local organizations.

The building will be accessible to people with disabilities and has a LEED Silver certification, a construction industry measure of environmental sustainability.

For information on eligibility to stay at the house, call 404-315-1133 or see

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.