Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, Mich.

Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, Mich.

A serial builder constructs a stunning facility—and chooses his own neighbors—for Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, Mich.
May 01, 2008

Blue room: Dr. Dan Lorimer's architect made the break area special with soothing blue colors and flowing curves. "People work hard here," Dr. Lorimer says. "We wanted to make sure they were comfortable." (PHOTOS BY NATHANIEL LAM)
Dr. Dan Lorimer, DACVO, wanted his specialty practice to look professional. For that, he needed respectable neighbors. To attract those neighbors, he bought six acres and built a 40,000-square-foot building—which was not his hospital. He leases the building to a bank, an architect group, and a human-medicine specialty group. And, oh yeah, next to that attractive office building, he constructed his own 38,380-square-foot specialty hospital, offering services in ophthalmology, internal medicine, cardiology, neurology, dermatology, oncology, and surgery. He and his four partners have achieved the look they wanted with a facility that earned them a Veterinary Economics 2008 Hospital Design Competition Merit Award.

Building again

FLOOR PLAN: Michigan Veterinary Specialists (PHOTOS BY NATHANIEL LAM)
The new Michigan Veterinary Specialists—with its professional-looking office-building neighbor—is the sixth hospital Dr. Lorimer has built or heavily renovated during his career. The previous location, a 6,500-square-foot conversion of an office building, won him a Merit Award back in 1994. When he needed more space, he bought the 13,000-square-foot building next door and ran a hallway between the two. He didn't make his latest move because he ran of out of room. Rather, "the flow wasn't as organized as it could be," Dr. Lorimer says. "Plus, we ran out of parking."

A look at the numbers: Michigan Veterinary Specialists (PHOTOS BY NATHANIEL LAM)
This newest hospital, a project built from the ground up, called on all of Dr. Lorimer's past experience. Before tackling it, he built a 10,000-square-foot satellite clinic in the nearby underserved town of Auburn Hills, Mich. It was a trial run with his builder and architects—Ron Jona and Alex Munoz, who handled interiors—and things worked well. He picked a team member from his administration staff to keep an eye on the projects. "You never have enough time to design everything and watch after it while you're running the practice," he says. "I wanted to know I had someone looking out for our best interests."

Change is never easy

Radiation treatment room: Thirty-six-inch-thick concrete walls and a door with 3,800 pounds of lead keep radiation in. Team members watch the linear accelerator's work on video in an adjacent area. The imaging center, with magnetic-resonance, computed-tomography, and radiography machines, is a few feet away. (PHOTOS BY NATHANIEL LAM)
In his new building, Dr. Lorimer organized traffic flow by zones: Reception, exam rooms, and diagnostic areas all wrap around the treatment areas and the ICU. Each specialty gets its own treatment area, so technicians, assistants, associates, and owners all work in their specialty zones. They still get together for rounds every day and cross paths in common areas.