Q. I've owned a small animal practice in a suburb for nearly a year, and business is fair. There's one big problem, though: No one can find my practice. It's not on a main thoroughfare or a corner lot, so we don't attract many new clients--if any--from drive-by traffic. Even my established clients complain the hospital's too far off the beaten path. Are we sunk in this location? Is there anything we can do to try and make it work?
As a senior in veterinary school, Dr. Glenn Park worked on a class project with an architecture student to create the hospital of his dreams. Eleven years later, Dr. Park made his project a reality. And his 10,000-square-foot Courtyard Animal Hospital won a merit award in Veterinary Economics' 2001 Hospital Design Competition.
Q. I'm considering building my own clinic. What should I ask when hiring an architect?
A. Hiring the right architect is one of the most important decisions you'll make during the building process, say Sal Longo Jr. and Michael Crosby, co-owners of Crosby Longo Architecture studio in New Orleans, La., and designers of the 2000 Hospital of the Year.
When Dr. Marcel Florax set out to find a new practice site, he knew that not just any property would do. He wanted the flavor of his hospital to shine through. A 3,500-square-foot barn from the mid-1800s ended up being the perfect home for his 150-year-old practice--one of the oldest in England.
Converting a 7,200-square-foot shell into a high-tech surgical hospital required skill, patience, and compromise from the six owners of Veterinary Surgical Associates in Concord, Calif. The resulting clinic took home a Best Specialty Hospital Award--a new category in the Veterinary Economics 2001 Hospital Design Competition.
Is your practice crying out for a new look? And is your budget screaming, "No!"? Well, help is here. Our team of design experts, all members of the Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board, knows you probably can't afford a complete hospital overhaul. But you can give your practice a makeover--just take it one room at a time. These eight tips will help you get started:
Q. I lease space in a strip mall that imposes strict regulations on signage. For instance, my sign must sit flush against the building and not stick up above the roof, I have to use muted colors, and it must say "Veterinary Hospital" instead of my clinic name. Without a distinct building and sign, how can I make my presence known?
Studying Norwalk Veterinary Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio, from a distance is like watching clouds on a summer day. Some people see a barn; others see a train depot. And everyone is right. "We wanted to build a charming facility, inspired by old barns and train depots, that evoked the veterinary profession's farm roots," owner Dr. Ronald G. Hendrikson says. This vision led him to create an award-winning floor plan in just 2,736 square feet.