Saving patients while saving the planet

March 1, 2017
Ashley Griffin

Ashley Griffin is a freelance writer based in Kansas City and a former content specialist for dvm360.

McGregor Boulevard Veterinary Clinic in Fort Myers, Florida, the Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competitions 2017 General Practice Hospital of the Year winner, may look tan, but its actually very green. Find out how the team put its eco-friendly philosophy into practice.

Reining in raindrops

When Lura Jones, DVM, owner of McGregor Boulevard Veterinary Clinic, and her husband, Matthew Horton, ASLA, set out to build a veterinary facility in Fort Myers, Florida, they knew they wanted the design to exemplify their love for the environment and their community.

Recognizing that even the smallest of details (and raindrops) can have a significant impact, Jones and Horton installed a rainwater cistern. Though they originally wanted to use the captured water to flush toilets, Florida regulations made that dream difficult and costly.

Instead, the cistern funnels rainwater into an irrigation system to water the hospital's ornamental grasses, royal palm trees, shrubs and other native greenery.

“During the rainy months we collect 1,000 gallons of clean rainwater. Essentially, it's enough water to cover us through the dry months,” Horton says.


You can see the repurposed column benches in the lower right corner rear the palm trees.Make no mistake

See those beautiful columns in front of the hospital? When the building contractor made a mistake and created a column that was the wrong size, Horton seized the error as a repurposing opportunity. 

“He was going to take the column to a scrap yard, but I said, ‘Let's find a use for it,'” Horton says.

A few measurements later and the contractor was cutting up the column to create three unique benches so the hospital's outdoor park could have a sitting area.


Put the 'cycle' in 'recycle'

When you build your veterinary hospital on McGregor Boulevard, the “Rodeo Drive of Fort Myers,” you must be prepared for traffic by car, foot and bike. This fact explains why a custom bike rack scored priority placement in the hospital's new parking lot.

“We can see the veterinary hospital from our house,” Jones says. “And I bike to work almost every day.”

This bike-friendly philosophy comes in especially handy for younger staff members who start working at the clinic before owning a car.


Children in charge

Jones' and Horton's children, Cael (age 10) and Renn (age 9), are two apples that didn't fall far from the tree. The kids set up a recycling program throughout construction and recycled some of the scrap building material. They also collected cans from the building site, crushed them and took them to a recycling facility.

“We wanted to teach our kids that there are ways to recycle, reuse and repurpose so that raw materials are around for future generations,” says Horton. “This project was a great lesson in sustainability.”


Images courtesy of Stuart Gobey, Island Studio Photography, and Lura Jones.

To learn more McGregor Boulevard's practices, visit


Ashley Griffin is a freelance writer based in Kansas City and a former content specialist for dvm360.