Pueblo’s new health department HQ may sell its name for furniture

According to a report in the Pueblo Chieftain, representatives from the local health department went before the Pueblo County Board of Commissioners Thursday to ask permission to sell naming rights of their new headquarters.

Department officials are confident the building’s construction will come in under budget, but furnishing the space is a different story. They’re hoping to raise $400,000 for furniture and equipment.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a Skittles exam room or a Pepsi parking lot, though.

“We’re hoping that individuals will take an interest in the health of the community and sponsor certain rooms,” said Sarah Bruestle, the health department’s public information officer.

The Commissioners are still pondering whether or not to let corporations buy in.

The practice of medical facilities selling their naming rights is nothing new. Amednews has been reporting on the trend since early in 2005, but public opinion and pragmatism don’t always walk hand in hand.

Abercrombie and Fitch’s $10 million dollar sponsorship of the Emergency and Trauma center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH sparked heated protest from a coalition that includes the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, several pediatricians and Parents for Ethical Marketing.

So, assuming no one wants to protest, how much will it cost to have a room named after you in Pueblo’s new medical headquarters?

The Chieftain reported that the Health Department is hoping the main conference room will bring $50,000, and that the three smaller conference rooms will bring $15,000 a piece, but Bruestle believes the numbers could go higher.

“Those amounts were discussed,” she said, “but at least one of the commissioners thinks they’re too low.”

Not every room in the building is for sale. Commissioner John Cordova said he would like to see naming rights for at least one room reserved for a local luminary who may not have the money to buy their way in.

As of Monday no sponsors have stepped forward and no prices have been set.

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Bob Spencer

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