Beacon House pact with UPHS-M a great step forward in process

Beacon House’s project to establish a new facility near UP Health System-Marquette’s new hospital took a positive turn last week.

The hospital announced that it reached an agreement to lease a portion of its property, near the intersection of Seventh and Spring streets in Marquette, to Beacon House for the simple fee of $1 per year, providing the private, nonprofit organization with the land it needs to construct a new hospitality house.

The arrangement will allow Beacon House to continue providing a valuable service to the hospital’s patients and their families and we’re pleased the two organizations could come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Beacon House operates on a donation basis and guests are expected to contribute at a level that is affordable for them, according to the organization’s website.

We all know how certain health care issues can be rather expensive for patients and their families, particularly when long-term stays are in the picture. And keeping loved ones close by during those trying times is an invaluable component to maintaining positive morale.

The stress that people can experience from severe medical conditions alone can be a daunting challenge for many to overcome. But when you add on the stress related to paying for extended lodging and other services for yourself or loved ones, it can drastically exacerbate the situation and burden those people with unnecessary concerns at a time when they should be focused on improving their health.

Donations to Beacon House are critical for that very reason. Not only do the financial contributions assist the organization with securing the funding needed to build its new facility, but the donations help support the people who will stay there when they need it most.

The private, nonprofit Beacon House launched a capital campaign last year with the initial goal of raising about $6.2 million, but the organization’s CEO, Mary Dowling, said in a recent Journal article that the final cost to build the new facility could be considerably less than that.

The organization is still in the planning and design stages of the new hospitality house, so exactly how that facility will look, and the final cost, is still in the works.

But we’re confident, considering everything we’ve heard thus far from folks at Beacon House, that it will shape up to be a welcoming facility for patients and their families.

The existing Beacon House, situated along North Third Street in Marquette, is close to the current hospital. But when UP Health System-Marquette relocates its operations to the new health care facility in late 2018, it won’t have the rooms needed to accommodate extended stay patients and their families, making the relocation of Beacon House that much more critical.

Beacon House officials told us last week that they’ve raised nearly $500,000 through their capital campaign so far. That’s a sizable chunk of money, but surely more will be required.

Dowling also said any money the Beacon House receives that’s above and beyond what’s needed for construction will be put toward the group’s endowment fund and used to support operations into the future and the many people who will access those services the organization provides.

Beacon House still has work to do, but the agreement with the hospital is an encouraging step forward and we’re confident the community will rally behind this worthwhile effort.