Face-Lift for Hospital

 At 10 stories high, workers install new white lettering at Lovelace Medical Center at 601 Dr. M.L. King Jr. NE, the culmination of a nearly $1 million exterior renovation.

Lovelace Medical Center, the hard-to-miss landmark at Interstate 25 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, has traded in its off-white exterior for a warm brown color to cap off a massive renovation begun six years ago.

“It’s a face-lift,” said Lovelace Medical Center CEO Troy Greer. “It’s interesting how small changes can make a big difference on a campus.”

The 10-story medical center’s exterior now matches the color theme of its nearby sister facilities, Heart Hospital of New Mexico and Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital. The off-white color dated back to the 44-year-old building’s original incarnation as St. Joseph Hospital.

In a related detail, the color of the lettering on the center’s exterior signage is being switched from blue, which contrasted with the former off-white stucco, to white for contrast with the brown color. The switch will be completed next week on the south side of the building.

The just-under-$1 million project took six months, allowing for delays due to wind and weather, said Lovelace spokeswoman Laurie Volkin.

The new color came with an elastomeric finish, a durable elastic coating made with an acrylic binder. As part of the project, 120,000 square feet of the building’s exterior – the equivalent of two football fields including end zones – was cleaned and recaulked in preparation for spraying on the finish.

“There’s an operational component of sealing against weather penetrations and an aesthetic component that would give it a fresh look,” Greer said.

Lovelace Medical Center underwent a $60 million interior renovation beginning in 2006 after its parent company, Nashville-based Ardent Health Services, picked St. Joseph Hospital to be its flagship medical facility in New Mexico.

The original Lovelace Medical Center on Gibson is now a privately owned medical mall called Gibson Medical Center.

Ardent bought St. Joseph Healthcare in 2002 and Lovelace Health System in 2003, then merged the two operations under the Lovelace banner.

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