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Grand Forks' Sunshine Hospitality Home will break ground soon

A "home away from home" for Altru Health System patients and their family members is getting closer to becoming a reality, say officials of the Sunshine Memorial Foundation, which launched the project.

Theresa Garbe, CEO of Sunshine Memorial Foundation, stands on the lot where the Sunshine Hospitality Home will be constructed. The building site is just west of Altru Hospital on 11th Avenue South in Grand Forks. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)
Theresa Garbe, CEO of Sunshine Memorial Foundation, stands on the lot where the Sunshine Hospitality Home will be constructed. The building site is just west of Altru Hospital on 11th Avenue South in Grand Forks. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

A "home away from home" for Altru Health System patients and their family members is getting closer to becoming a reality, say officials of the Sunshine Memorial Foundation, which launched the project.

Groundbreaking for the Sunshine Hospitality Home is expected within weeks for the 18,000-square-foot, three-floor facility to be built west of Altru Hospital on 11th Avenue South, said Theresa Garbe, CEO of the foundation.

About 80 percent of the funds needed to construct and furnish the home has been raised, Garbe said. The foundation is about $600,000 shy of its goal of about $3.3 million.

The facility will provide home-like accommodations for people who want to be near a loved one who is hospitalized or who themselves are receiving medical treatment such as same-day surgery, chemotherapy or emergency care that requires an overnight stay.

The home, which should be completed by summer 2018, will be used by people of all ages and medical conditions, Garbe said.

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Designed with 14 sleeping rooms, many of which accommodate four people, it will shelter up to 64 people.

Features include a "faith room" and "wellness room," as well as a community kitchen, a great room, a children's playroom and space to hold meetings, Garbe said.

The exterior will feature a patio and garden area.

The home will address the growing need for temporary housing for those who are in Grand Forks for medical reasons, such as supporting a loved one who's hospitalized, Garbe said. "Right now, people are sleeping in cars or in the hospital lobbies."

Donations have been received from businesses, banks and individuals, she said. ICON Architectural Group has donated design services.

A donor wall will display names of those who've given $500 or more.

A total of $825,000 is the sum of the goals set by fundraising teams based in Roseau County in Minnesota and the Lake Region, Larimore, Northwood-Hatton communities and Walsh, Pembina and Nelson counties in North Dakota.

Each team is seeking pledges needed to secure naming rights for individual rooms or areas in the facility.

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"The regional teams have come so far," said Garbe, who led the Roseau County team before joining the Sunshine Memorial Foundation as CEO in August.

"People realize how important this is for the region."

Donations received by April 30 will be matched by the Otto Bremer Foundation.

For more information, go to www.sunshinememorial.org or call the foundation at (701) 738-2462.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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