By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer
An architectural icon for more than 100 years in Avondale soon will also be a mecca of hope.
This Avondale building will house Hope Lodge, with rooms for cancer patients and offices for the American Cancer Society.|
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The historic building with eclectic Victorian Romanesque and Tudor Revival touches at 2808 Reading Road is being gutted and renovated to house Hope Lodge, a home away from home for adult cancer patients. It will also house the American Cancer Society Resource Center.
The 53,000-square-foot, four-story structure, built in 1880 fand renovated to house Ursuline Academy in 1928, will be transformed into 23 guest rooms for cancer patients. Rooms will have private baths, beds and closets and will occupy the third and fourth floors.
Cancer Society figures show that 3,900 cancer patients come to Cincinnati for treatment each year on average.
The average patient travels 50 miles and stays here six to eight weeks for radiation treatment. Chemotherapy patients need three to five days a month, up to six months.
Lodging is a critical part of cancer treatment, said Meredith Mosley, executive director of the Hamilton County Unit of the Cancer Society. "Having a Hope Lodge can mean the difference between getting appropriate treatment or not,'' she said.
The first level, once a chapel, will become a great room and a library. Other parts of the first level will house dining, computers, game rooms and a residential kitchen.
"Patients and caregivers will be able to prepare their own meals,'' said Steven T. Kenat, an architect with GBBN Architects. "We are trying to create the home-like atmosphere while at the same time retain much of the original designs."
The second floor will house the resource center.
Mosley said plans are to start moving in at the end of the year.
She said the building is planned to be open for patients by spring.
She said Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, which bought the building in 2001, has made the building and grounds available to the American Cancer Society through a 40-year, renewable, no-cost lease.
The project will cost $9.5 million, generated through fund-raisers, private and corporate contributions, charitable gifts, annuities and trust funds. About $4.9 million has been raised.
The building, facing demolition to become a parking lot before it was given to the society, sits in an area plagued by vacant sites.
It is several blocks from the former Sears building, now mostly vacant, at Reading Road and Lincoln Avenue; several blocks from the former Sears warehouse the 600 block of Lincoln Avenue and not far from vacant buildings at Gilbert Avenue and Lincoln.
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