How do you expand your practice's workspace and preserve a piece of history? Renovate a church. The 2009 Hospital Design Competition People's Choice winner practices medicine in a charming relic.
Drs. Gale Kerr and Elizabeth Lauron were tired of working in a cramped, secluded facility. They had outgrown Broadway Veterinary Hospital in Grove City, Ohio-an unattractive log cabin accessed only through a back alley. “The place was so small, you could stand at the front door and basically see everything that was going on in the hospital,” Dr. Kerr says. “We said ‘Excuse me' a lot.”
The doctors began searching for a new facility, and inspiration soon struck Dr. Lauron. She noticed a for-sale sign in front of then-vacant Concord Methodist Church. The congregation had merged with another church, and church officials hoped to save the 150-year-old building from demolition. But developers planned to build a coffee shop on the site, and it seemed the building would soon be a pile of rubble. Then Drs. Kerr and Lauron swooped in, and Concord Chapel Animal Hospital was born.
The pair purchased the building and began the remodel in September 2007. It wasn't hard to find an architect: Dr. Kerr's husband, Dave, happened to be an associate at an architectural firm in nearby Dublin, Ohio. The team did its best to maintain the historical integrity of the building, starting with the nine-foot-tall stained glass windows that line the walls. They took advantage of the building's high ceilings, squeezing in a mezzanine containing a break room and doctor's office above the exam rooms. Most of the original church pews were donated to the local historical society, but a few were modified to become exam room and lobby seating.
Surprisingly, the building was in great shape and required few modifications-leveling an uneven floor was the only major repair needed. This kept the construction process on schedule, and the doctors opened for business in January 2008. Voters at dvm360.com made Concord Chapel Animal Hospital the overwhelming first-ever People's Choice Award winner.
According to Dr. Kerr, client review has been favorable. “Everybody loves the fact that we
kept the building, which would have likely been demolished had we not converted it,” she says. And the building's visibility has paid dividends for the practice. Revenue is up about 20 percent, and the practice receives two to three new clients every day. “We saw quite a bit of growth right off the bat,” Dr. Lauron says. “This building has really boosted our business.”
To view photos and information about Concord Chapel Animal Hospital, along with the other People's Choice entries, click the links below.
The winner:Concord Chapel Animal Hospital