Five years ago Dr. Neil Shaw and his 14 associates worked from a 1,500-square-foot facility. They had so little exam space they were forced to consult with clients over a picnic table or across the seat of a client’s car. Dr. Shaw knew he needed more room, so he built an 11,575-square-foot facility to house 75 staff members in 1999—a facility that won a 2000 Merit Award from Veterinary Economics.
In the spring of 1997, Dr. William J. Moyle Jr. and his wife, Nancy, decided to build a practice closer to their home south of Denver. And four years later they broke ground on a new facility. During the building process, Veterinary Centers of America offered to buy their existing 14-year-old practice, and Dr. Moyle agreed.
General practitioners launching their own practices often start small, hoping to afford a larger space eventually. Not so with specialty/emergency practices, say Drs. Gary Block and Justine Johnson, husband-and-wife owners of Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, R.I.
As a senior in veterinary school, Dr. Glenn Park worked on a class project with an architecture student to create the hospital of his dreams. Eleven years later, Dr. Park made his project a reality. And his 10,000-square-foot Courtyard Animal Hospital won a merit award in Veterinary Economics' 2001 Hospital Design Competition.
The premise of the TV show "Ed" isn't original: lawyer Ed opens a professional practice in a bowling alley. Dr. Kovacic beat NBC to the punch in 1988 when he moved Animal Emergency Center in Milwaukee into a leased space in a bowling alley. Dr. Rebecca Kirby, Dipl. ACVIM, Dipl. ACVECC, once a partner and now sole shareholder, remembers the location fondly: "We couldn't tell if it was thundering or someone made a strike," she says.
If you think constant barking is maddening, add the steady pounding of jackhammers. Then work under those conditions for a year. Partners Drs. Scott Griffin, Ann Allen Salter, and Bill VanHooser sacrificed quiet to add 6,613 square feet to their 7,295-square-foot Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort in Montgomery, Ala.
There's strength in numbers, the saying goes. But for the veterinarians at Findlay Animal Hospital in Findlay, Ohio, strength comes not only from the number of doctors but also from the number of hospitals they own around town.
Looking at the 18,832-square-foot Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado in Englewood, Colo., it's hard to imagine the practice's humble beginnings. In 1991, Dr. Sam Romano's emergency practice merged with Dr. Steve Wheeler's internal medicine practice and Dr. Marlon Neely's mobile surgical practice in an 1,100-square-foot garage. Three years later they added oncologist Dr. Robyn Elmslie, Dipl. ACVIM, and moved into a 5,600-square-foot converted dental facility.
Consulting with clients over a picnic table, housing patients in the restroom, and stacking portable cages to the ceiling may sound like a bad dream to most veterinarians. Dr. Neil Shaw and his team endured this daily reality for more than two years at Florida Veterinary Specialists, a 1,500-square-foot leasehold hospital in Tampa, Fla.
The owners of Causeway Animal Hospital in Metairie, La., asked architects Michael K. Crosby and Sal Longo Jr. to draw elevations for a new facility. But the architects yearned to design the entire building, so they produced extensive computer renderings and predicted they'd build Veterinary Economics' Hospital of the Year.