10 ways to beautify your veterinary practice
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dan Chapel, AIA, owner of Chapel Associates Architects in Little Rock, Ark., photographs every single wall in a practice and creates a slideshow for his clients. The dust, the clutter, the chipped paint, and the cracked tiles you don't notice during your daily stroll through the halls often pop when you're facing them on the computer screen.
1. Tame wayward extension cords. You bought high-tech equipment to improve the quality of the medicine you practice and now that high-speed dental drill is leaning against the wall in surgery. Chapel says he sees extension cords everywhere: stapled down the wall, running across the counters because there aren't enough outlets. The treatment: Hire an electrician. You'll pay about $100 for each outlet you add. Considering that loose cords are a fire hazard and can be a threat to patients who see them as chew toys, this is a smart fix.
Kimberli Bragg, a partner with thoughtSPACE architecture firm in Lexington, Ky., suggests using plants and trees that change colors at different times of the year. Also, choose pet-friendly plants and avoid those that are common allergens. "Keep plants and trees a safe distance from the path to the entry, so that animal elimination doesn't kill them," Bragg says.
3. Rebuild the porch. If it's sagging, it's time. "You can rebuild it and put up new columns for not a lot of money," Chapel says. "It'll cost around $10,000 to $15,000 to tear the old one off and rebuild one with new columns."
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Mark Hafen, AIA, a senior partner with Animal Arts/Gates Hafen Cochrane in Boulder, Colo., says that painting can make a big impact on the outside of your hospital, too—as long as your colors send the right message.
Hafen recommends light colors that draw the eye in, like taupe. Then use brighter colors sparingly. Red, orange, blue, and green make great accent colors on chair rails or shutters. Awnings can also add pop to your curb appeal. "You can get backlit awnings and feature your logo," he says. "That's one of the neatest ways to add pizzazz to your building for a couple thousand dollars."