ST. CLOUD - Clara’s House celebrated the grand opening of their recent 9,000 square foot expansion (Tuesday) afternoon.

Built in 2004, the expansion nearly doubled their existing space.

“What we did was expanded the ability to take more kids. Early adolescent used to share space with the adolescent. With the expansion we’ve literally doubled the number of kids we are able to have” said director for outpatient medical health, Deb Stueve.

Clara’s house showed a need for more space during the planning phases nearly three years ago.

“Vice president of development Mark Larkin said, “We could see almost three years ago waiting lists starting to come in with kids…We knew that we needed the physical space to be able to house the kids.

The expansion was made possible through philanthropic donations of approximately $1.8 million dollars.

“We came to Mae with this project, the benefactor that made this possible. We talked about clinical needs. She wanted a place that embraces kids and surrounds them with hugs. She has taken us beyond what we could have ever dreamed of” said Larkin.

Donor Mae Ellingson-Skalicky said, “I’m one of the lead donors, that is how I became involved. Now I almost feel like I have a position here because I’ve just become so active here. It’s just a wonderful place. It keeps on adding and adding things. It’s helped so many kids. ..What I would like to see is other cities duplicating this.”