Veterinary hospitals show their award-winning spaces

Kansas City

The winners of 2023 Hospital Design360 competition provided virtual tours of their practices at the Fetch Kansas City conference in Missouri

Hospital Design360 competition

Photo: Kristen Coppock/dvm360

Representatives from Boulevard Veterinary Lakeview East in Chicago, Illinois, and Oregon Humane Society Community Veterinary Hospital in Portland, Oregon, show their grand prize awards for winning the 2023 Hospital Design360 competition, which were presented to them at the Fetch Kansas City conference in Missouri.

Comfortable customers, staff experience, and efficient workflow were among the considerations made when a pair of veterinary hospitals designed their award-winning spaces. Representatives of Oregon Humane Society (OHS) Community Veterinary Hospital in Portland, Oregon, and Boulevard Veterinary Lakeview East in Chicago, Illinois, provided virtual tours of their new practice facilities and gave insight into their design choices during a presentation at the Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri, that also recognized their accomplishments.

The 2 hospitals were announced in July as the Hospital of the Year grand prize winners in the 2023 Hospital Design360 competition. The OHS Community Veterinary Hospital was named the winner in the competition’s over 8000 square feet category, while Boulevard Veterinary Lakeview East took the top prize in the under 8000 square feet category.

In a session moderated by radio personality Matt Bubala, both hospitals were presented with etched-glass trophies. “Both grand prize winners are exemplary veterinary hospitals, and we are proud to honor them as the best of the best in this year’s Fetch Kansas City conference,” said Bubala.

The annual contest recognizes the most attractive, functional, and efficient animal health care facilities in the United States, with an emphasis on designing an environment for both safety and wellness of patients, clients and staff. Designs must meet best practices for providing veterinary medicine, show space usage efficiency while maintaining wellbeing and safety for humans and animals, demonstrate innovation, set high standards for client and patient care, and have overcome obstacles to build the project to meet the program’s criteria. A panel of veterinary hospital design experts evaluated the strengths and standout features of each entry submitted, which represented practices from around the country, to select the winners.

The grand prize-winning projects both incorporated natural light, bright colors, and durable materials that are also stylish. However, their designs were unique in many ways.

The nonprofit OHS newly constructed 2 buildings to expand its Portland campus from 1 to 3 buildings for a total of more than 23,000 square feet. One of the new structures houses the Behavior Modification and Rescue Center with the other building is home to the Community Veterinary Hospital and the Animal Crimes Forensics Center.

According to Steve Kochis, DVM, chief medical officer for the OHS Community Veterinary Hospital, who accepted the award in Kansas City, the expanded facility has served approximately 9500 patient visits since it opened in October 2022. He added that the rescue center was used for the first time in the past week, when OHS received 100 cats rescued from the Maui Humane Society (MHS) in Hawaii, following the recent wildfire disaster.

The OHS hospital was built with the community it serves in mind. Expanded spaces for urgent cases and spay/neuter services; and accommodations for more student training and education are among the needs that the design serves.

In a photographic walk-through of the OHS hospital, Kochis showed a lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows that features separate waiting areas for dogs and cats. That separation carries through to the exam areas of the hospital. “There are lots of natural barriers,” he said. “All of the exam areas empty into [a] centralized treatment area” that includes a pharmacy.

The surgery suite has induction and recovery areas and a transporter staging space, while dedicated units for dentistry and intensive care were also created. Another notable feature is the use of modular furniture and moveable equipment, which allows for flexibility as needs change. The OHS even had an acoustician come in to assist with sound as spaces were created.

The hospital’s staff area also features natural light, as well as comfortable furniture, lockers, and a hydration station. “I can’t tell you what a difference having lots of natural light throughout the facility has made for the team, and a lot of bright color,” said Kochis. “We wanted to use a lot of color just to make everyone feel welcome. It represents a bright, happy place.”

That sentiment was shared by Boulevard Veterinary Lakeview East. “Take advantage of any sources of natural light that you can get,” said Audrey Laroche, CVT, MS, vice president of Boulevard Veterinary, which has 4 clinics in Chicago.

Laroche advised attendees to consider whether solid walls are needed or if more windows can be incorporated. “Definitely consider the benefits to your staff and not just to your clients. The clients are there, generally, for an hour at most. Your staff is there for 8 to 12 hours a day. When they can’t see the sunshine, when they don’t know if it’s raining or beautiful outside, it can be mentally draining. If you’re able to pivot your floorplan around to let in more of the light for your staff, the benefits to them are going to outweigh the benefits to your client,” she said.

The design also considered the staff’s wellbeing with custom-built lockers to accommodate personal items while employees are working. The lockers are made with non-metal materials to reduce noise when opening and closing the doors. There’s also a cork board affixed to the wall, where ‘thank you’ notes from clients, staff birthday greetings, and other positive messages can be shared. Brass hardware, fun lighting fixtures, dimmers, and other touches of luxury are also incorporated for the staff’s comfort.

The hospital features exam, dental and surgery areas, a quiet ward, radiology room, and a laboratory suite. Office windows overlook treatment areas, allowing doctors and administrators, to see inside the hospital treatment areas, and more natural light to flow through to interior spaces.

Constructed with commercial space in a luxury apartment building, the facility is the fourth Boulevard Veterinary hospital all owned by Dylan Frederickson. His wife, Kelly Frederickson, director of design for the award-winning build, was in Kansas City to accept the recognition, along with Laroche.

“We’re particularly proud [to win this award] because it is very, very intentional for us to be building thoughtfully designed practices. Other than wanting it to be a welcoming place for our clients, we really want it to be a place where you look forward to coming to work,” said Laroche.

Kelly Frederickson said when her husband first brought up the idea of opening his own practice, she knew they had to “make it magical” and a fantastic place for people to work. Subsequently, the team learned from their 3 previous hospital builds and incorporated those lessons into the Lakeview East property.

Although the Boulevard Veterinary clinics utilize cohesive branding, color palates and natural aesthetics, they also have their own identities, some of which reflects the natural elements of their unique locations. Frederickson said the Boulevard Veterinary Lakeview East design team was inspired by the water for which the neighborhood—and the new hospital—takes its name. The calming, coastal vibe comes through in the teal-colored walls of the facility’s exam room, and the “waves” on the lobby floor, created by the chevron flooring pattern in alternating white and shades of blue.

Laroche and Frederickson offered a series of tips for attendees interested in building their hospitals. A key takeaway from Frederickson is for designers to think about what has worked for them in spaces they’ve worked in, and what has not. She suggested starting by asking, internally, “What makes you smile? What brings you joy?”

Related Videos
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.