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Board tackles naming of Health System’s newest buildings

Posted: Monday, Oct 1st, 2012

This is what the front of the new Brookings Health System skilled nursing facility will look like when complete. Courtesy image

• Should skilled nursing facility keep the Brookview name?

BROOKINGS – What’s in a name?

That’s the question Shakespeare asked, and it’s the question now being pondered by the Brookings Health System Board of Trustees.

It will be months, not years, before the first residents move into the new skilled nursing facility, which doesn’t yet have a name.

When the move is complete, though, the existing Brookview Manor nursing home will be demolished to make way for more construction on the BHS campus.

So there’s the dilemma: Do the trustees keep the old name, which has become something of a brand name in the community, or do they opt for something a little more forward-looking, something that reflects the changing mission of the Health System?

In a trustees’ meeting typically filled with talk of boiler purchases, quality improvement programs and financing options, the board Thursday took a little detour – a lighthearted look at what to call its new $15 million skilled nursing and rehabilitation center.

“Jackrabbit Village is already taken,” joked SDSU Dean and City Councilor Keith Corbett.

But then, “Brookview Village” has a nice ring to it, another added. “That could be a serious contender.”

“Brookview Living Center,” another trustee volunteered, “or how about just Brookview Center?”

BHS Administrator Jason Merkley introduced the topic, noting that some 200 Health System staffers have already been polled on their choice for a new name for the skilled nursing facility.

After an initial round of suggestions and a preliminary vote, “Brookview Living & Rehab Center” was the clear favorite, earning more than 41 percent approval – or 72 votes – in a “Voice Your Choice” ballot.

Brookview Suites, Brookview Place and Sunrise Ridge finished two-three-four in that online contest.

Some other suggestions included Brookview Nursing & Rehab Center, Brookview Health & Rehab and The Neighborhoods at Brookview.

The trustees appeared to reject the staff’s top choice, one member arguing that “rehabilitation” should never be shortened to “rehab,” at least not in a formal name. Another noted that “rehab” sounds like a place to go to get off drugs – and the skilled nursing facility’s “rehab mission” will be geared more to physical therapy and recovery and rehabilitation after a serious illness or surgery. Others pointed out that Brookview Nursing & Rehabilitation Center may be a little too long to be a workable title.

And if you call the facility something like “Brookview Living Center,” another trustee reckoned, doesn’t that conflict with BHS’ independent living apartments, Brookhaven Estates? Aren’t people living there?

Merkley suggested that the “Manor” part of Brookview Manor makes the name seem a little dated, and retaining the entire name reflects the current facility – including all the good and some not-so-good baggage it carries.

The new skilled nursing center, on the other hand, not only includes a significant upgrade to its rehabilitation options, but the spacious residential facility operates on an entirely different philosophy. A cluster of residential buildings will create a more homelike, neighborhood environment, and the care and treatment philosophy will change as well.

All that is why Administrator Merkley confessed he liked “The Neighborhoods at Brookview” as a title. The name should reflect the spirit of the place, as well as its functions, he said.

Other trustees said they favored titles that reflected “community.”

The board seemed to agree on one point: they would like to retain “Brookview” in some part of the name.

One issue, surprisingly, did not come up during Thursday’s discussion: Naming the new facility after a major donor or an organization. Frequently, donors will ask that a facility be named in honor of a loved one – the Violet Tschetter Memorial Home in Huron, for example, or Edith Sanford Breast Cancer in Sioux Falls.

With “naming rights” for public facilities in vogue, it would be understandable if a foundation or one of the Health System’s health care partners might be interested in bidding to choose a name – if not for the entire facility, then perhaps for the Town Center building or the rehabilitation area.

For now, however, the trustees have to deal with the problem at hand. “We’ve got six months before we absolutely have to decide on a name,” Merkley told the group. “But these things have a timeline.”

The trustees did not ask for suggestions from the public, but it’s likely they’ll get some “citizen input” as they weigh their choices for a title.

Contact Ken Curley at kcurley@brookingsregister.com.

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