See your hospital design in 3-D


A company now offers veterinary practice owners a chance to wander their clinic before they build.

Duke University's DIVE room pictured above at right. (Photo courtesy of FullCon Solutions)

Imagine for a moment you're moving through your veterinary practice, room to room, judging the layout and the color scheme, and worrying that a built-in bench at the discharge desk is too close to the pet scale. Time for a change order? Nope. You're Sharon Ziegler, practice manager at Triangle Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Durham, N.C., and the 3-D glasses on your face and the six-sided virtual theater you're standing in allow you to walk the halls of your hospital before it's built.

"It was amazing," Ziegler says of the experience at Duke University's DIVE (Duke Immersive Virtual Environment). "We addressed concerns like the scale in the waiting area and how much space there would be around our workstations. Minor changes like that can have a significant impact on the cost of a big project like ours."

Triangle is the first veterinary hospital to use the 3-D visualization newly offered to veterinary practices by FullCon Solutions, which formatted computer design layouts into 3-D. The company's primary focus has been in human-hospital design.

"Duke even uses the theater to help patients overcome their fear of flying or fear of heights," says Dave Fuller, president of FullCon Solutions.

Fuller says the cost for translating designs into 3-D and booking time in the university 3-D theater usually runs from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the size of the computer files used and the amount of time in the room. "For a million-dollar facility, our cost is just a blip," Fuller says.

The biggest hurdle for architects and their clients is travel to one of the available theaters: Duke University or Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

"We were a little hesitant at first," Ziegler says. "We weren't sure whether it would pay off for us, but the minor changes we made saved us money on change orders."

The 13,000-square-foot Triangle Veterinary Emergency Clinic is slated to be finished this month, with the grand opening scheduled for early October.

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