When the renovation team first assessed the scope of the job they were about to undertake at the 20-year-old Fort Stockton Nursing Center, the first things they noticed were that the nursing station was much too large and the rehabilitation space was much too small. 

If the facility were to be brought into the modern age, those dimensions definitely had to change.

The space rearrangements, decorative additions and functional improvements took only four months to complete, resulting in what is essentially a new community inside the shell of the old one, says Ryan Harrington, CEO of Trinity Healthcare, owner of the newly christened Fort Stockton (TX) Living & Rehabilitation.

“The bones were OK, but finishes and flooring looked very dated,” he says. Trinity purchased the building in January 2014. “We were committed to modernizing the building and got the work done relatively quickly.”

The 120-bed property is a one-story campus spread into four wings, with two dedicated to skilled nursing care, one for memory care and the other for post-operative rehabilitation and Medicare.

Aside from painting over the archaic “mauves and teals” on the walls and adding appealing aesthetic touches, general contractor Darrell Smith says a greatly oversized nursing station at the entrance — emblematic of its era — stuck out like a sore thumb. Its dismantling took top priority.  

“The first thing visitors saw was a medical feel and look, not a home-like atmosphere. Our goal was to take that in-your-face nursing station and turn it into a welcome station,” says Smith, president of Oakbrook Builders, which handled the construction.

Expanding the rehabilitation area consisted of basically repurposing some unused space, Harrington says. “They were doing virtually no rehab, so we switched the area they had dedicated to therapy with a generic room to create a larger rehab space,” he says. 

The much-roomier area allows the facility to now provide full-time physical, speech and occupational therapy. The renovation also added an occupational and restorative therapy room.

Technology upgrades also were a major part of the remodeling, as Trinity added modern computers, a new electronic medical records system, upgraded electrical wiring, network cables, an advanced phone system and touch-screen technology on the walls.

Fort Stockton is a town of about 10,000 in West Texas and Fort Stockton Living & Rehabilitation is the only skilled nursing facility in the county,  Harrington explains.

“There were only 70 residents in the facility at the time, so we thought the renovation could create a better environment for the residents and employees, while increasing occupancy 20%,” he says.

Creative use of earth tones, stone, tile and wood convey the local landscape, while wall murals painted by a San Antonio artist depict a historical narrative. Sun rooms with stacked windows present plentiful views of the surrounding mountains, bringing the area’s landscape directly into play.