Second-generation practice, first-rate care

Second-generation practice, first-rate care

Feb 01, 2007

TO SAY THAT VETERINARY MEDICINE IS A FAMILY AFFAIR for Dr. Jeff Grady would be an understatement. His father, Dr. Karl Grady, founded Grady Veterinary Hospital in 1962. Dr. Jeff Grady also married a veterinarian, Dr. Karen Collins, whose father and sister are veterinarians as well. And his sister, Marsha Weiss, is his practice manager.

Reception: Inset: A mural features clients' pets behind the reception desk. Cathedral ceilings, a retail nook, a client refreshment area, and oak-slat bench seating complete the look for this area.
Being immersed in the culture of veterinary medicine from a young age taught Dr. Grady a thing or two about running a practice and, indirectly, about building one. "My father converted a house into a small clinic in 1962, and he added on in 1970," says Dr. Grady, a 1990 graduate of the Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine. "He added on again in 1977 and remodeled in 1990. So I was no stranger to rebuilding and remodeling the practice."

His father also taught him to look for good ideas all the time—not just when you're ready to make a move. "My dad always sought out the top practice in a city and spent a day there when he was out of town," he says. "A lot of our family vacations were to AVMA conferences, and we'd take a day off and see the practices he'd heard good things about in the area. Growing up, I learned a lot more about design than I realized."

Grady Veterinary Hospital
When it came time for Dr. Grady to build, he put those good ideas to use. He visited other practices, including his wife's, which had just been rebuilt. He gathered ideas. In keeping with the family theme, he worked closely with John Copich of Copich and Associates—a second-generation architectural firm that had also designed his wife's practice. And as a result of his efforts, Dr. Grady's practice earned a 2006 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition Merit Award.

Put lessons to work

Dr. Grady briefly considered remodeling the 42-year-old facility. But the house, built in the 1940s, had been patched together so many times that the flow was "really chopped up and terrible," he says. And the original site offered just 14 parking spaces, which made things difficult. In the end, Dr. Grady and Copich decided to build fresh.

Surgery: The surgery suite contains three surgery tables. Windows on the opposite wall allow observation from the treatment area. Natural light filters in through exterior windows.
Dr. Grady owned a piece of property three doors down from the first facility, a former Exxon station his father had purchased in 1978. Next door to the station sat an empty Perkins restaurant that Dr. Grady maneuvered to buy, but because the owner knew how critical the property was for Dr. Grady, he inflated the price. Dr. Grady arranged to have a friend buy the property for a more reasonable price, then sell it to Dr. Grady to get around the seller.

Remember the past while you look forward
That settled, it was time to get down to the nitty gritty. Having been through a building process two years earlier when his wife built her facility, Dr. Grady had a foot in the door already. He and Copich crafted a similar floor plan. "However, my wife's and my tastes differ," Dr. Grady says. "Her style is more warm and inviting, and while I like that, I'm more conservative. I wanted a more professional, technical image that goes with the emergency work we do."