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Looking good!

Practice owners considering a new or remodeled hospital can draw inspiration from innovative designs by leading architectural firms.

Looking good!
The exterior of SportsVet Animal Medical Center was designed with exposed wood timbers and stone columns. (Photo by Mark Peterson)

Floor plans that offer the ultimate in efficiency. Glass blocks that allow more natural light. Comprehensive designs that follow stress-free practice principles at every touch point. Acoustical roofing that reduces noise. State-of-the-art therapies.

These are just a few of the features incorporated into the designs of some of the newest hospitals.

If you have an eye toward expanding veterinary services or upgrading the entire experience for clients, patients and staff, we invite you to explore these three projects and consider how you can benefit from a renovation or start-from-scratch project.

  • Hospital: Decatur Animal Clinic
  • Location: Decatur, Illinois
  • Firm: Morton Buildings Inc. of Morton, Illinois
  • Cost: Undisclosed
  • Square footage: 6,000
  • Timeline: 12 months
  • Hospital website: www.decaturanimalclinic.com

Decatur Animal Clinic is a two-generation, family-owned, full-service veterinary clinic that has been in operation for more than six decades. When the previous hospital showed serious signs of aging, the owners decided a new home was in order.

The Morton design and construction team set out to create a dream-come-true practice that focused on quality client and patient experiences and energy efficiency.

“The previous animal clinic was operated out of a converted house, in which it was described as like working in a basement,” Morton marketing specialist Danielle Scott said. “The new clinic is spacious, welcoming, beautiful and functional.”

The open floor plan includes a treatment area, operating room, boarding space, office space and an expansive waiting room housing a children’s play area.

Among the highlights of the transformational design:

  • A brick exterior, deep fascia overhangs and Hi-Rib acoustical steel roofing, which is popular in new animal facilities because of its ability to reduce inside noise. This is important when numerous dogs are being housed.
  • A large collection of acrylic block windows and skylights allows for an extraordinary amount of natural light.
  • Plumbing and electrical lines were installed between the insulation and finished walls and ceiling, a configuration that increases energy efficiency and insulation performance.

“The clients love the building,” said owner Alec Messamore, DVM. “We see emergency cases from other clinics, we see clients from other clinics, and we get comments about how nice the building is. They like the brickwork, the vaulted ceilings in the waiting room. They really just like the overall feel of the place.”

The design of Decatur Animal Clinic allows in an extraordinary amount of natural light.

  • Hospital: Pablo River Veterinary
  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida
  • Firm: Animal Arts of Boulder, Colorado
  • Cost: Approximately $2.3 million
  • Square footage: 7,271
  • Timeline: 18 months
  • Hospital website: www.pablorivervet.com

Looking to build his first hospital as a sole proprietor, Michael Boyarin, DVM, trusted Animal Arts with the design of his dream practice.

“From Day One, Dr. Boyarin had a great vision for what he wanted his hospital to be, both in looks and in function,” said Animal Arts partner Ashley Shoults, AIA. “But at the same time, he was very open to exploring alternative ideas. There are many unique and innovative ideas that are incorporated in the design, but two of the standouts are the ways we incorporated stress-free care and how we built for the future.”

A few examples of where Animal Arts incorporated stress-free concepts include:

  • Separate dog and cat waiting areas, exam rooms and wards.
  • Cubbies for cat carriers in waiting.
  • Secondary entrance into exam rooms without the need to enter the lobby.
  • Sound-reduction strategies in animal wards.

Animal Arts needed to consider Dr. Boyarin’s goal of hiring more veterinarians as his practice grows. He recognized that it’s more cost-effective to build now for that hopeful expansion but not waste space in the meantime.

With that goal in mind, Animal Arts built in flexible space.

“For example, we designed the hospital to ultimately have four exam rooms and a comfort room,” Shoults said. “But we only built out three of those exam rooms to start. The fourth one will be used as a secondary office and storage space for now, but we also went ahead and roughed in the plumbing for an exam sink so that if or when it becomes the fourth exam room, the conversion is simple and cost-effective.”

Other design features included:

  • A three-table, open-concept treatment area.
  • A dedicated dental alcove adjacent to treatment.
  • A single-table surgery suite with a dedicated recovery beach just outside.
  • Grooming and bathing space with exterior access for supplementary service income.
  • An indoor dog playroom and outdoor play areas to support doggy day care.
  • An outdoor patio with a separate comfort room entrance.

“Simply put, they were true partners in the process, and as a result I have my dream hospital,” Dr. Boyarin said. “The value added to my project is hard to measure and describe.”

Pablo River Veterinary incorporates stress-free features such as a second entrance for exams.

  • Hospital: SportsVet Animal Medical Center
  • Location: Savoy, Illinois
  • Firm: TerWisscha Construction Inc. (TWC) of Willmar, Minnesota
  • Cost: $2,675,000
  • Square footage: 10,650, plus 400 in canopy coverage
  • Timeline: 13 months
  • Hospital website: www.sportsvetamc.com

“Just about every aspect of this project makes it special in terms of innovative design,” said Eric Doering, TWC’s business development manager.

Incorporated into the design were exposed wood timbers inside and out, solid-surface counters in most client areas, good flow for clients checking in and out, and a separate entrance for the boarding and grooming business.

Other facets include a large rubber-floor indoor exercise area, K9Grass for the outdoor play area, privacy fencing, a large treatment area and an enclosed dental suite.

While the design offers a one-stop shop for a full range of veterinary services, the hospital’s focus on sports medicine meant the need for rehabilitation therapies and chiropractic care. The features include a swim tank, underwater treadmill and land treadmill.

The job was unusually challenging, Doering said.

“Interestingly, the biggest challenge was prior to construction,” he said. “First, getting the right piece of property was time-consuming and difficult. Plus, we broke ground in central Illinois about mid-December, and some questionable soils came into play with freezing. In addition, the roof was too close to power lines and we ultimately needed to create roof modifications and install power-line protection to complete the project.”

Despite the obstacles, the result was impressive. SportsVet went from 2,000 square feet of leased space to more than 10,000 square feet of owned property.

“The doctor achieved his goal of offering as much as he reasonably could within a first-class environment for the clients and patients,” Doering said. “The building has been received incredibly well, and business is very strong.”

The owner, Steve Jacobs, DVM, MSPT, has no second thoughts.

“I am extremely happy with the floor plan and cannot think of any changes that I would make to the layout,” he said. “It has been amazing to watch a dream come to life.”

A modern, high-end lobby greets clients entering SportsVet Animal Medical Center. (Photo by Mark Peterson)