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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

With Tufts Medical Center name change, MBTA may run into significant expenses

Despite plans to extend the T's Green Line to Tufts' campus by 2014, the next T stop to bear the university's name will actually be on the Orange Line.

The station in question is not new at all, but its name is: After the Tufts-New England Medical Center (NEMC) dropped the "New England" from its title in March, the current "New England Medical Center" T stop will soon change its name to reflect this, switching to the "Tufts Medical Center" station.

The hospital made the moniker switch in order to highlight the "exceptional partnership [that the hospital] has with Tufts University," the hospital's President and CEO Ellen Zane told the Daily in March.

Although the process of renaming the station may seem simple, the name change will come at a heavy cost to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), according to Daniel Grabauskas, the MBTA's general manager.

In addition to changing all references to the NEMC name on the walls of the station, every "spider," or system, map in the entire T system will have to be reprinted to reflect the hospital's new name.

"There are over 600 spider maps in the system," Grabauskas told the Daily. These maps can be found in nearly every T stop and on trains. Furthermore, there are numerous tourist maps in the Boston area that now display the incorrect station name.

Grabauskas said that the process of changing the name of the station is not only costly; it also takes time. "We will eventually recognize the name change, [but] it's a process that takes a year," he said. Although he did not have an exact cost estimate, he said the price is "pretty significant."

The medical center, however, is planning to help the MBTA finance the project. "We are going to be working with the MBTA ... we are aware that we both need to partner on [the project]," said Julie Jette, a spokesperson for the hospital. "We appreciate that this is a process that the MBTA will have to go through."

Jette said no plans have been formulated regarding how the hospital will help the MBTA. "We haven't gotten as far as logistics yet," she said.

It is likely that the station's new name will be gradually phased in, and the name will be changed as maps and signs are replaced.

Jette stated that changing the name of the T station will help with the hospital's re-branding campaign, a $1.5-million project to get the word out that the old Tufts-NEMC is now the Tufts Medical Center and to promote the hospital's affiliation with Tufts.

"The change in the name of an institution as old and as cherished as ours is a major undertaking, so any way that the name can be reinforced will help," she said.

Although the Tufts Medical Center is not a formal part of Tufts University, it is the chief teaching hospital of the Tufts Medical School.

Tufts and several other Boston medical institutions founded NEMC in 1930. The Tufts name was tacked on in 1968 to form Tufts-NEMC, and plans in the 1970s even called for the hospital to be institutionally integrated into Tufts, but those plans fell through.

The NEMC T stop opened in 1987.