Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A plea was issued Thursday by the Rochester Ronald McDonald House.

The Rochester community is being asked to chip in and help raise the money needed to pay for a significant expansion of the facility.

The fundraising goal is $16.5-million. Just over half has already been raised through the “quiet” phase of the campaign. Speakers at Thursday’s fundraising launch event emphasized the sooner the money is raised, the quicker work on the project can begin.

photo by Kim David

The proposed project would nearly double the size of the facility located a few blocks from St Marys Hospital. The number of rooms would increase from 42 to 70 to help meet increasing demand. The expansion will enable the facility to serve 1,500 families per year, 600 more than the current number. In recent years, the House has turned away hundreds of families every year.

Once construction begins, the addition should be completed in just over a year.

Check here for more information and/or to make a donation.

photo by Kim David