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Mourning Hope is more than three-fourths of the way to its $4 million fundraising goal for its new home that will be under construction soon.

And a gift Wednesday from Scheels will push it even closer.

The sporting goods retailer presented the organization with a check for $100,000 in a ceremony Wednesday morning at the Scheels store at SouthPointe Pavilions.

The money will go to designing and constructing the Scheels Game Room at a new building for Mourning Hope, which offers free counseling to kids, teens and young adults who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or other close family member.

Executive Director Carly Runestad said the Scheels Game Room will have foosball and air hockey tables, a basketball hoop and other games and physical activities.

She said she envisions it as a place where grieving middle schoolers and high schoolers can go to get physical activity, and "just be with their peers."

The Scheels Game Room will join other themed rooms in the new facility that's being built next to the Willard Community Center at West B and South Folsom streets, including a theater and music room, an art room, a teen room, a quilting room and an "emotion commotion" room where kids can blow off steam.

The new Mourning Hope facility will be nearly 15,000 square feet, which is three times bigger than the organization's current space, and will be the first permanent home it has had in its 25-year history.

Mourning Hope held a groundbreaking ceremony May 16 and had hoped to start construction last week but has been unable to because of the rain. Runestad said she hopes work will start either this week or next week, and construction is expected to take about a year.

Still, the project is about four months ahead of schedule thanks to the success of the fundraising campaign, which has benefited from a $1 million anonymous donation from a family foundation and several other large gifts.

Several staff and board members from Mourning Hope thanked store leader Louie Sikich, but he said they are the ones who deserve thanks.

"You are the ones who are making a difference in the community with vision and hope …," he said. "We can just help."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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