I always knew I wanted to own a practice, but I never guessed that the perfect location would be a strip mall," says Dr. Jean M. Oberg, owner of My Animal Hospital of North Dover in Toms River, N.J. "In 1984, I started cutting hospital design articles out of Veterinary Economics, and when it came time to build, I had hundreds of designs."
Drs. Buddy Smith and Benet Sandell started their building project reluctantly. Although they had contemplated renovating or rebuilding before relocating, a big push from a road project forced Hill Country Veterinary Hospital to build on a new site on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, 1/2-mile from their previous site. Today they practice in a 3,100-square-foot, award-winning facility.
When he moved his practice from the converted home it had occupied for 42 years, Dr. Rickey Broussard wanted to maintain the comfortable feel of the practice by building a facility that resembled Grandma’s house. And judges of Veterinary Economics’ 2001 Hospital Design competition agree that the homey front porch with brick accents gives the facility’s dramatic entrance and lofty ceilings the warm appeal Dr. Broussard strived for.
From the butterfly garden to the rattan furniture, the high-touch environment at Chico Hospital for Cats in Chico, Calif., reflects the emphasis on client comfort and reassures clients that team members treat their cats with dignity.
When Dr. Marcel Florax set out to find a new practice site, he knew that not just any property would do. He wanted the flavor of his hospital to shine through. A 3,500-square-foot barn from the mid-1800s ended up being the perfect home for his 150-year-old practice--one of the oldest in England.
Studying Norwalk Veterinary Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio, from a distance is like watching clouds on a summer day. Some people see a barn; others see a train depot. And everyone is right. "We wanted to build a charming facility, inspired by old barns and train depots, that evoked the veterinary profession's farm roots," owner Dr. Ronald G. Hendrikson says. This vision led him to create an award-winning floor plan in just 2,736 square feet.
After 25 years of traveling to Garberville, Calif., to visit her family members, Dr. Judy Horvath and her husband, Steve Horvath, decided to simplify their lives and settle in the northern California village. Back in 1991, just two years after Dr. Horvath graduated from the University of California-Davis, the couple bought the only veterinary practice in the 1,200-person town.
When you mention Colorado, most people picture spectacular views. But from their tiny strip-mall leasehold, staff members at Centennial Valley Animal Hospital in Louisville, Colo., could barely see the parking lot, much less the Rocky Mountains beyond.