The team at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, just doesn’t quit. That’s right, they remained fully operational throughout a 7,980- square-foot renovation, kept clients and pets happy during the process and took home a 2016 Hospital Design Merit Award to boot.
How’d they pull it off? Thomas Burns, DVM, owner of this veterinary hospital—that could easily be mistaken for a gorgeous beach house—reveals some of the secrets to their success.
Go after what you want
If you know exactly what you want in your new hospital, don’t be afraid to come right out and express your vision—no matter how crazy it may seem. Your architect will work with you on whittling down your wish list and setting realistic goals, but first you have to share your dream.
For example, when Dr. Burns approached Warren Freedenfeld, AIA, of Rauhaus Freedenfeld & Associates in Boston, he had five guidelines in mind:
1. Design a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital and boarding facility on the existing site of the 40-year-old practice.
2. Add some serious curb appeal, integrating elements of the charming Cape Cod vernacular design.
3. Make the hospital visible from Mid-Cape Highway.
4. Stick to a limited budget.
5. Oh, and don’t close our doors during any part of the process.
Work through the madness
Dr. Burns admits that it was difficult to stay open during the renovation and addition phases. However, it helped that his clients were understanding and very encouraging throughout the process.
“I think some of our clients may have even felt part of the process, helping us to evolve to the next level of patient and client care,” Dr. Burns says. “Done right, it can even bond clients further to your facility.”
There weren’t any secret plans in this hospital. His team shared the vision for the new facility with clients early on through architectural renderings in the lobby and social media platforms.
Share the good news
The Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod’s team is very social. In fact, they took to Facebook to announce when new sections of the remodeled clinic were complete. One of their posts revealed that the eight (there were five originally) exam rooms were renovated and ready for patients.
"Do you like our new exam rooms?" one of the posts reads. "If not, we might take it a little personally—we have eight of them! The additional exam rooms in our new facility allow us to operate more efficiently. One of our many client care goals is to keep wait times down. Clients often remark that our wait times are minimal. After all, we value your time!"
Another update focused on the reception area and the clinic’s cat-friendly practices.
"Looking forward to Monday morning! Our reception area is ready to serve you. Even the catwalk is ready in Exam Room 8! Max [the Macaw] and fish coming soon!"
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback online regarding the new facility,” Dr. Burns says.
For starters hundreds of people have “liked” the new clinic online and dozens have shared their excitement about the new space:
Linda: Gosh, that is a beautiful place! I would love to have a home like that! Lucky animals!
Kathy: It looks great! See you for the kitties’ annual soon!
Derek: Tigger can't wait! This will be his first vet visit!
Dianne: This is an amazing idea. With all the wonderful innovative additions to your clinic. You're the cutting edge of animal care!
Dr. Burns says this positive feedback is why it’s so important to get your clients involved. After all, their pets are the reason for the remodel.
“Get clients enthused early in the process about your plans,” Dr. Burns says. “Soon they will become your biggest cheerleaders throughout the process.”
Want to see more photos of Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod? Click here for a photo galley.