Described as "more than a community and a lifestyle," Brandon Wilde, one of the county's four retirement communities, will celebrate its 15th anniversary this weekend.
Bonnie Lee Cawood, shown in her apartment, is one of the original residents at Brandon Wilde retirement community.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The highlight of Saturday's event, which is open to residents and their guests, will be a Taste of Columbia County. The evening event will feature foods prepared by 11 Columbia County restaurants, with representatives from those restaurants staffing the various booths.
"We'll also have a band and a dance floor," said Bruce Marshall, the associate executive director. "We will have the commissioners, Sen. (Jim) Whitehead and other dignitaries join us."
Brandon Wilde, which is owned and sponsored by University Health Care System Inc., of Augusta, is home to about 425 senior residents. The all-inclusive community houses a wellness center and bank, and offers grocery delivery and household maintenance.
"One of the things that is most amusing to people now is when it was first proposed that we build this facility, people said, 'Why would you want to build something like that in the middle of the pasture,' " Marshall said. "We're the epicenter now."
The facility was reaccredited in 2004 by the joint Continuing Care Accreditation Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
"More than half of our peer communities won't even apply for this accreditation," said Marshall, who said the application is stringent and costly. "It's a tedious process."
Brandon Wilde has held the five-year accreditation since the late 1990s. Marshall said the reason for applying for the accreditation is that more and more "inquiry traffic is coming from the Internet and when someone looks up retirement communities, they can basically get the bottom line on us. Whenever you can look at a retirement community and see that they have received the CCAC/CARF accreditation, you know that they have already passed some of the highest standards you can achieve. It's like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval."
Nearly 42 acres adjacent to Brandon Wilde were purchased last year to use for future expansion. While there are no immediate plans to expand, Marshall said an outside firm is doing a study to determine the feasibility of adding on.
"They are doing a strategic study to help us determine if the market will support a fairly short-term expansion," Marshall said. "We purchased the additional property to basically preclude any future development in the event we want to expand."
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