Just months after assuming full ownership of Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic in Richmond, Texas, Dr. Sharon LaDell Moore began planning a new facility for the 45-year-old practice. Built in 1970, the building desperately lacked space to accommodate the practice’s rapid growth—and didn’t have the standout character Dr. Moore desired.
Located on a busy corridor leading to the county courthouse, the facility sat across from such imposing structures as the county library and community college—both tall, impressive structures. The one-story, 2,800-square-foot veterinary clinic, while much beloved, didn’t measure up, architecturally speaking.
With less than an acre to build on, expanding outward wasn’t much of an option. So Dr. Moore began thinking up. “We needed a facility that rose up out of the ground as an obvious landmark,” she says. “We wanted people to say, ‘You know, the corner with the veterinary facility’ when giving directions—something to draw eyes and drop jaws. Most of all, we wanted to give our clients something to talk about and keep them coming back.”
The new 9,966-square-foot, two-story facility not only caught the eye of clients, but also the eye of the 2011 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition judges. Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic earned itself a Merit Award in the competition, with judges singing its praises for its beauty—both inside and out—rich materials, stunning reception area, and innovative use of technology.
FINDING FAVOR IN A FALLEN ECONOMY
As has been the case for many veterinarians lately, the economic crisis greatly affected the building process. But for Dr. Moore, it worked in her favor. She was partway through the financing process when the bottom fell out of the economy. So she sat on her plans for the winter, considering whether it was really a good time to build. But a few months later she decided to finalize the lending offers.
Fortunately, new proposals led to rates much below those she’d received previously. Lowered interest rates in the SBA 504 program and SBA incentives for small businesses ended up saving her more than $18,000 in fees. What could have been a disaster ultimately led to better financing terms than she’d anticipated, as well as construction costs 22 percent lower than her preliminary budget due to lower materials costs and motivated contractors.
As an added bonus, a client satisfaction survey conducted by a drug manufacturer on behalf of the clinic found that clients loved the practice—everything except for the small waiting room and parking lot. “We already knew we were going to build, but the survey confirmed that we were making the right choice in forging ahead,” Dr. Moore says. “We knew we could afford it, and we were banking on current business and money we’d saved, not on the projected increase in business some practice owners plan for. It turned out to be a bargain for us and was definitely the right time.”
Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic boasts 24 interior wall colors, eight floor colors, and 10 countertop colors and textures. A client painted the lobby ceiling to resemble the sky, and each luxury boarding suite boasts its own themed mural and accoutrements. The courtyard lobby features an outdoor feel, with limestone walls, metal roofing, operable wooden shutters, hand-trowelled walls, and an upstairs veranda with French doors, full-length shutters, and wooden railings to provide a coastal feel. Each exam room door, which opens off the courtyard lobby, is a different color and style for added interest.
“Keeping up with all of these details wasn’t easy,” says Michael Moore, Dr. Moore’s husband and right-hand man during the building project. “I kept meticulous spreadsheets to keep the details straight and make sure the contractors got it right.”
Moore says the contractors relished taking on such a complicated project, seeing it as a chance to show off their craftsmanship. “Some of them are now bringing prospective clients in to show off the scope of their capabilities, since we used so many different yet complementary styles,” he says.
Another feature that keeps people talking—and cats purring—is the cat condo adoption area visible from the reception area courtyard. “We wanted to use cats as decorative items in the reception area while giving them a chance at adoption,” she says. “So far we’ve adopted out 150 kittens in the year we’ve been open.”
PRESERVING CLINIC CULTURE
Ninety-seven percent of Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic clients stated they enjoyed good value for their money at the practice before the new facility opened, according to a client satisfaction study. Dr. Moore didn’t want that perception to change following the transition. “We set out to preserve what’s most important to the culture of our practice—good medicine and good value,” she says. “That meant we had to keep our prices affordable even after the move.”
Because Dr. Moore based her financing on what she was already making—not the projected 20 percent jump experts say you can expect when building new—she didn’t need to raise prices. “We explored our fee schedule a year or two before starting the building process, made adjustments as necessary, and we haven’t had to touch them since,” she says. The practice did start offering new services as a result of the move, which helped boost revenue. And, as Michael Moore points out, a better facility makes work more efficient, which saves the practice money as it grows.
“And if clients are wowed by the building, our job is to meet their raised expectations through superior service and care,” Dr. Moore says. “For example, when we show clients the ICU, they’re much quicker to check a pet into the hospital for a medical condition than they would have been at the smaller clinic. Clients expect to receive a certain level of care all the way through the process when they see our surroundings. I’m grateful that our veterinarians and staff members showcase compassion and professionalism equal to their new surroundings.”
Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic
2203 Thompson Road
Richmond, TX 77469
Owner: Dr. Sharon LaDell Moore
Associates: 3 full time, 3 part time
Hospital team: 17 full time, 8 part time
Practice type: 98 percent small animal, 1 percent large animal, 1 percent equine
Building size: 9,966 square feet
Exam rooms: 7
Runs: 2 hospital indoor, 2 boarding indoor
Parking spaces: 30 client, 17 staff
Construction: $1.7 million (building only; excludes land purchase, landscaping, parking lot, etc.)
Land purchase: $275,000
Site improvement: $406,000
Professional fees: $129,161
Year built: 2010
Ralph A. Thibodeau, AIA
633 Newport Drive
For more photos from Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic, click the 'Next' button below.
Bringing the outside indoors: The distinctive lobby mimics an outdoor courtyard with a painted sky ceiling, park benches for seating, operable wooden shutters and railings, and an upstairs veranda with French doors. Mexican Talavera tile brings a Southwest flavor to the reception desk, and natural light bathes the courtyard through two levels of arched windows.
Fun themes: The six exam rooms feature unique colors, textures, and designs, including artwork featuring the owner’s own pets. One exam room includes a Texas A&M theme with photos of the veterinarians from their veterinary school days, while another exam room displays an aquarium and a more tropical feel. Three of the exam rooms are modeled on the original 1970s building, with a freestanding table in the center of the room and bench seating.
Light and space: The cool yellow and green treatment area features natural light from arched windows above that floods the entire treatment space. Three treatment tables offer plenty of space, with several access points to outpatient areas and the kennels.
Outdoor play area
A place to play: Patients get a chance to burn off energy in this sunny outdoor play area.