After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine’s new $4.5 million home today, visitors touring the building took out their smartphones and aimed their cameras upward toward a 20-foot-high mural dominating two walls in the lobby and also at two murals displaying the organization’s vision statement.

The lobby’s contemporary mural, painted by Lakeland artist Elizabeth Hults, portrays a spreading tree with 85 leaves, representing the 85 donors who have donated $25,000 or more since LVIM was founded 20 years ago.

LVIM depends mostly on donations to support its mission of providing health care to the working uninsured, explained Alice Koehler, who today was promoted from chief development officer to chief administrative officer. She becomes CEO later this year when founding chief Bobby Yates retires.

Leading a tour of the facility at Kathleen Road and Peachtree Street, Koehler said LVIM occupies its new quarters debt free. A large portion of the funds came from sale of its previous home, the former John Cox Elementary School, to Academy Preparatory Center. The rest came via gifts from the Publix-related Barnett and Fancelli families, she said.

Two murals in the building display the organization’s vision statement: “May we have eyes to see those rendered invisible and excluded, open arms and hearts to reach out and include them, healing hands to touch their lives with love, and in the process, heal ourselves.”

Click any photo to see larger images.

LVIM (website | Guidestar) provides health-care services to more than 4,000 people described as the working uninsured. They make too much to qualify for public assistance but not enough to afford private insurance, Koehler said.

An estimated 200 people attended today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and heard from speakers including Yates, Koehler, LVIM board chair Jim Cossin, Mayor Bill Mutz and Weymon Snuggs, past chairman of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.

The building was designed by The Lunz Group, architects, and built by Rodda Construction.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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