When it came to finding the perfect site, the team at Southwest Veterinary Medical Center got lucky.
“It was one of the last vacant lots that really fit our criteria,” says Daniel Levenson, DVM, owner of the hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Opening Southwest Veterinary Medical Center almost 10 years prior, he and his team wanted to stay within one mile of their original location for the sake of their clients. So they were thrilled to find the perfect lot near a busy highway less than a mile from their current space. The location was so good, they almost lost it to a restaurant developer.
Lucky for them, that deal fell through, so they wrote a new offer in 48 hours, put an earnest deposit in the bank and built a new hospital. That building earned a Merit Award in the 2017 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition.
“We finally got our corner lot at a stoplight on a busy highway,” Dr. Levenson says.
Find out how Dr. Levenson built his dream hospital with plenty of room to grow.
1. Turn wish lists into checklists
Dr. Levenson knew exactly what he wanted in his new hospital. Here’s a peek at some of the top items he shared with his architect, Wayne Usiak of BDA Architeture, and team.
> Stick to the budget
> Gain street visibility
> Stay within one mile of the original practice
Hospital design checklist:
> Large, open lobby with soothing colors
> No confusing hallways for clients to navigate
> Separate dog, cat and exotic boarding areas to reduce patient stress
> Individual staff lockers
> Staff-writing counter adjacent to ICU for easy access to patients
> Modern, staff-only bathroom
“My staff is like family and they deserve a place to come to work that they're proud of and reflects my pride in the hard work they do,” Dr. Levenson says.
2. Allow yourself room to grow
Moving from a lease space on a semi-rural road in suburban Albuquerque to one of the busiest commuter roads, Dr. Levenson wanted to plan for expansion.
“Even though the economy was up and down at the time, our business was slowly growing and with no other new practices coming into the area, we could see ourselves getting bigger in the future,” Dr. Levenson says.
The hospital occupies about 5,000 square-feet of a 9,550-square-foot ground floor space. There are two adjacent 2,000-square-foot lease suites with separate storefront entries. Not only do these suites offer future hospital expansion, they offer valuable rental income in the interim and create additional client traffic.
“One lease space was immediately taken by the local humane society for an adoption center, further cementing our location as 'Pet Central,' while providing the opportunity for future clients through pet adoptions,” the team wrote in their Hospital Design Competition entry.
3. Save your energy
Going green was also a priority for Dr. Levenson and his team. They made sure their building was as efficient as possible while sticking to their budget, incorporating features such as:
> Tankless water heaters
> LED lighting throughout the hospital
> Xeriscaping on the exterior lot with a drip water system
“We wanted to conserve energy where we could and reduce our energy footprint as much as possible,” Dr. Levenson says. “This hospital helped us achieve these goals and provide the best service to our clients.”