Design: A true community effort at Rockingham County

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Ubiquitous windows let ample amounts of light into the Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Brentwood, NH.
Ubiquitous windows let ample amounts of light into the Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Brentwood, NH.

When the agents of government come together for a cause, the results can impress, as Rockingham County demonstrates.

Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center is a shining example of what can happen when a county-owned long-term care community gets the full support of its governing body.

The Brentwood, NH-based skilled nursing and rehab facility now sports a much-needed $12 million facelift due to the efforts of the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners and Delegation, which spearheaded the project.

“If you have the support of the commissioners, there is nothing stopping your ideas,” says Administrator Steven Woods. The approximately 60,000-squarefoot renovation opened in 2017 and includes 18 short-term rehabilitation wing beds and a total of 202 long-term care beds.The Rockingham campus is nearly 250,000 square feet and sits on 50 acres.

Woods explains that the project started a couple years ago as “a nugget of an idea” that blossomed into a vision for an expanded and upgraded care environment. With the help of his management team, Woods presented the plan to the board and was elated when he got a positive response.

“We are so blessed that our three commissioners have a great vision and are enthusiastic about taking care of everyone we serve — residents, rehab clients, families, volunteers and staff,” Woods says. “They want our county home to do the best job possible.”

A showcase of the building's design is the entrance and courtyard, which has been named in honor of Karl Singer, M.D., who has been associated with Rockingham since 1975. Under Singer's leadership as medical director, clinical staff and resources have been enhanced so that residents receive the same level of care they would in a hospital. 

“Our approach is to provide the same treatment, no matter which walls you are within,” Singer says. All rooms are single with private baths, which is not only good for resident morale, but is a clinically sound practice for “combatting all the bad bugs out there,” Singer says.

Ubiquitous windows let in ample amounts of natural light and a color scheme featuring soft-tone blues and browns provides a relaxing atmosphere. Black-and-white pictures of local landmarks, such as train stations, lighthouses, markets and the coastline, grace the corridors, lobby and dayroom to provide residents with meaningful memories.

Architect Jonathan Halle of the Warrenstreet design rm says the commissioners and delegation “have been very progressive in their leadership and support” of the project vision. It is that support, he says, that enabled him to commence with a design aimed at providing all the infrastructure elements necessary to build a state-of-the-art community.

“Without being flamboyant, the goal was to provide a clean, contemporary renovation that equaled or surpassed any private facility delivering comparable services,” Halle notes with pride.