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Moving on the landlord's dime
A property owner's desire to tear down a building turned out to be a blessing for this California veterinary practice.
This leasehold conversion project landed Terra Vista Animal Hospital in an established shopping center with shared parking and entry concourses. The signage and interior design scheme complements the existing shopping center’s Spanish Mediterranean theme.
After 18 years in practice, Dr. Michael Weigand got a chance at a fresh start—luckily, with an established client base. When his landlord approached him about moving to make room for a new, freestanding bank where his leased practice stood, he was offered an all-new facility nearby. And who wouldn’t jump at the chance?
The situation was unique. The landlord offered to cover all costs if Dr. Weigand moved his hospital, Terra Vista Animal Hospital in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to another property owned by the same company. Or he could build wherever he wanted, with the company footing any reasonable expenses.
“I knew it was important for me to remain in the area I’d served for 18 years,” he says. “Fortunately, there was a vacancy in a neighboring shopping center my landlord owned, just one mile east of our current location.”
Site selection, zoning and financing were non-issues, which left Dr. Weigand free to dream about interior design instead.
“Due to the fact that our patients have little concern for what a place looks like, we must focus on our clients’ perceptions,” he says. Dr. Weigand’s goal was to design a comfortable space with a clear and easy floor plan. He worked to avoid bottlenecks at the reception desk and create an open work area in the treatment room. With a very linear plan, traffic flows easily from one area to the next, including a separate checkout area that features a pharmacy pass-through window for dispensing medications. Every zone is just steps from the next, and many employees are in direct visual contact so they can maintain efficient lines of communication.
“Effective communication among staff members is as important to the overall client experience as is communication directly with the client,” says Dr. Weigand. “My philosophy from the beginning, when I opened in 1994, remains the same: to be people-oriented while caring for pets. Our design centers around that concept.”
Remember, almost anything—especially big purchases and leases—is negotiable. Never hesitate to ask for a better deal from your current or future landlord.
Photography credit: Larry Falke, Larry Falke Photography
The reception area separates check-in and discharge functions for better efficiency. From the waiting area, staff members can see the entire entryway, the waiting area and the exam room pod vestibule. A pass-through pharmacy counter near the discharge counter speeds up service while minimizing steps. The reception area was designed to take advantage of existing storefront windows. Paw print designs add a touch of whimsy to the ceiling tiles. Park benches offer a variety of seating options.
Four exam rooms make up a clustered pod that maximizes space and controls traffic flow. This configuration also allows for single exam room door access, providing more wall area for technology without compromising comfort, functionality or accessibility.
The pharmacy is adjacent to both the outpatient and inpatient areas, with a pass-through opposite the reception counter. The lab is nestled between the pharmacy and treatment area and features a linear counter design for effective visual screening and sound attenuation from the treatment area.
The treatment area serves as the central hub of the hospital, with two built-in wet tables and a built-in cubby to facilitate a height-adjustable wet table. ICU cages, surgery and isolation are easily visible and can be monitored from the treatment area. The streamlined floor plan eases traffic congestion in the area.
A shared doctors’ office near the treatment hub offers a place to make calls and write up charts away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital. These stations are also provided at the semi-circular countertop ends of the treatment and lab areas.
An employee break room sits next door, making it easy to find employees when they’re needed in the treatment hub.
Terra Vista Animal Hospital
7385 Milliken, Suite 140
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Fax (909) 989-7939
Owner: Michael C. Weigand Jr., DVM
Associates: 2 full-time, 1 part-time
Hospital team: 15 full-time, 2 part-time
Practice style: 100 percent small animal
Building size: 3,570 square feet
Parking spaces: 26 client, 21 staff
Site improvement: N/A
Professional fees: $50,000, paid by developer
Year built: 2012
Richard Rauh, AIA, NCARB
Rauhaus Freedenfeld & Associates
23101 Moulton Parkway, Suite 106
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Fax (949) 716-9959