An award so nice we gave it twice: the 2010 Hospitals of the Year

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This award wasn?t big enough for the two of them. So Bay Beach Veterinary Hospital in Virginia Beach, Va., and Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, N.J., are your 2010 Co-Hospitals of the Year.

How do you compare apples to oranges? That's the dilemma our 2010 Hospital Design Competition judges faced. As the judging wore on, the task grew tougher. The group managed to whittle down the list of contenders to the select few Merit Award winners, but the question remained: Which entry would be named Hospital of the Year?

On one side, there was Bay Beach Veterinary Hospital in Virginia Beach, Va. The simple, home-like facility stands at 6,400 square feet, with a beautifully designed floor plan that allows for optimal traffic flow. Judges were particularly impressed with the separate respiratory isolation and gastrointestinal isolation rooms, separated by an isolation vestibule.

On the other side, there was Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, N.J. This massive specialty practice measures 58,000 square feet and employs 110 associate doctors. Featuring 25 exam rooms, a lecture hall, and just about every piece of equipment imaginable, Red Bank Veterinary Hospital is a project unlike any other. And its $13 million price tag is as colossal as the building itself.

Our judges were torn. Both facilities stood out as outstanding selections-but they seemingly belonged in separate categories. Bay Beach Veterinary Hospital was proof of how a smart, understated approach could result in a terrific primary care hospital. But Red Bank Veterinary Hospital was a great example of how to flawlessly execute an enormous building design to create an efficient specialty practice.

The solution: Name two winners. That's why Bay Beach Veterinary Hospital is the 2010 Hospital of the Year-Primary Care, and Red Bank Veterinary Hospital is the 2010 Hospital of the Year-Specialty.

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