The corner of Victoria Avenue East and Frederick Street is about to become a hub of activity.
Within the next two weeks, construction will begin on the Murray House cancer treatment residence, with a timeline of six to eight months for completion.
"It’s quite emotional really, just to see all the people together who have worked hard to make this happen," said Doug Murray, CEO of Murray Auto Group. "It’s going to be very exciting for the Murray family and for all the people in western Manitoba to see this home go up."
The official sod-turning for Murray House was held Thursday at 521 Frederick St., bringing together those who have been working on the project since 2010.
"This is a joyous occasion, especially for all of the people that have conceptualized and shaped the Murray House and the Sense of Home campaign," said Cheryl Holmes, former chair of the Brandon Regional Health Centre Foundation. "We just realize now that we’re into another chapter of this project, we are going to be more tangible. People that have been supporting us in the campaign will now be able to drive by and see … this wonderful building as it unfolds."
Excel Design and Construction has been awarded the construction contract.
"We’ve drawn up a detailed schedule on how we want to do this," said Excel president Ed Dornn. "It’s interesting that we’re starting this project in the winter time. We will be a little bit challenged, but we’re up for the challenge and excited about it."
The BRHC’s A Sense of Home campaign has reached its $2.5-million fundraising goal for the project, and has agreed to increase its commitment to $2.8 million to cover the increased cost.
A major donation of $625,000 came from Murray Auto Group last year, inspiring the name for the residence.
"I have to say it’s been awe-inspiring how the monies have flowed in," said Brian Schoonbaert, chief operating officer of the BRHC. "Examples of great community philanthropy and it’s shown how the community can pull together for a great cause and get something done."
The home will include two-storey windows, a sloped ceiling and eight hotel-type suites. Each of the eight bedrooms will have two beds — one main bed and one day bed for visitors. There will be a fairly large bathroom, as well as a small kitchenette.
It will serve cancer patients in rural Manitoba as they travel to Brandon for care.
"(Patients) will have a safe, wonderful home to stay in while they are receiving their treatment," Holmes said. "They will also have the support of other people going through treatment at the same time, so there’s going to be many, many benefits that they’re going to see."
The location of Murray House is in close proximity to both the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre and the hospital.