Converting a 7,200-square-foot shell into a high-tech surgical hospital required skill, patience, and compromise from the six owners of Veterinary Surgical Associates in Concord, Calif. The resulting clinic took home a Best Specialty Hospital Award--a new category in the Veterinary Economics 2001 Hospital Design Competition.
Judging by the design of this year's best veterinary hospital, "form follows function" may be the trend of the new millennium. Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash., showcases a classic design based on this hospital's dual functions--a traditional small animal practice by day, an emergency clinic by night. With its second-story atrium windows illuminating the hospital like a beacon, this 6,524-square-foot facility shines above the rest as the 2001 Hospital of the Year.
Dr. Timothy J. Thompson wanted to own a practice so much, he says he would've bought a lemonade stand with a dog run attached. So he and his wife, Dr. Shannon A. Thompson, both 1994 Texas A&M University graduates, only spent a year as associates before buying Hope Animal Clinic in Marble Falls, Texas. They leased the 850-square-foot building and within a year bought land to build the mixed animal facility of their dreams.
Good luck and support from her family made all the difference when Dr. Sue A. Stiff was building a new facility for Kiln Creek Animal Care in Newport News, Va. Most business owners in this seaside locale can't afford land. But fortune smiled when Dr. Stiff secured a 2.7-acre site in an exclusive golf community--for half its value. In addition, her husband, a local emergency veterinarian, kept an eye on the practice while she devoted her time to the building project.
How often does a knock on the door make your dream come true? Once was enough for Drs. James McGill and Linda Miller, two veterinarians who worked in separate practices north of Seattle. Despite a virtually invisible location, Dr. McGill's 2,300-square-foot leasehold was growing 30 percent each year. And Dr. Miller wanted to offer 24-hour care, but a surgical hospital rented the facility during the day. Both doctors wanted new hospitals, but the cost held them back.
Drivers passing East Lake Veterinary Hospital in Dallas do a doubletake when they see dogs running across the roof of the facility. To offer obedience training in her new practice, owner Dr. Karen Ann Fling added a 2,500-square-foot roof deck. This amenity garners plenty of attention, especially when training classes are in full swing.