Under one roof

Under one roof

Animal Care Center of Panama City Beach in Panama City Beach, Fla., finds one home for all of its services.
Feb 01, 2008

Luxury boarding suite: The luxury boarding area consists of 5-by-6-foot interior resting suites. Each suite has its own theme, with individually designed entrances and color-coordinated ceramic tile walls. The suites also have their own flat-screen televisions and direct access to private outdoor exercise areas through guillotine doors controlled from the interior. (Photos by Amber Jones, Photography by Exposure)
BEFORE, DRS. SCOTT MCLELLAND AND Charles Sleeth practiced in an 1,800-square-foot facility with a thriving boarding service, but they needed a new space. The building couldn't accommodate their growing practice—and the boarding facility was located across the parking lot with its own receptionist, separate from the clinic.

When it came time to plan a new hospital, the owners knew they wanted the practice and a luxurious boarding facility—and everything else their clients needed—under one roof. "We've always liked having a full-service facility where people could one-stop shop for boarding and grooming services, pet supplies, and veterinary care," Dr. McLelland says. "And the hospital is our bread and butter." The new facility has led to an increase in boarding numbers, but Dr. McLelland says the medical side of the practice has seen the most growth. The bigger space allowed for a larger surgical facility, a bigger treatment area with three tables, and an ICU with glass doors so team members can keep an eye on patients throughout the day.

Despite the successful results, the project almost didn't make it off the ground because the hospital owners were worried about making such a big move. "It was a big step," Dr. McLelland says, "But ultimately, we knew we needed to make the jump." With no room to grow in their old facility, Dr. McLelland says their efficiency and ability to work was compromised, so they did what their business needed—and eventually, the rewards followed.

Hanging tough

Animal Care Center of Panama City Beach
It was a tough few years when the project was under development, and once the team moved into the new building, they had to make some adjustments. One of the owners' must-haves was a flushing drain system in the boarding kennels. Initially, there were some issues with the system—specifically, toys would get caught in the troughs. But the hospital owners instituted a new policy about the size of toys that boarders could have in their kennels, and this has minimized the problem.

Of course, making sure team members communicate this guideline and keep it in mind when checking in boarding clients is key. "It's a little bit of a headache," Dr. McLelland says. "But compared to what it was like at first, it's not bad." Despite the problems with the plumbing, Dr. McLelland says the flush system has improved his team's efficiency and he wouldn't change a thing.

Sky high: The ceiling in the waiting area has clerestory windows to let in natural light.
Another challenge that cropped up as the team settled into the new facility was adjusting to the new floor plan—it required some restructuring of how the receptionists worked. Part of the solution was that client check-in and checkout now take place in separate areas. Drs. McLelland and Sleeth added another receptionist to the team, so now one receptionist handles check-in, another handles checkout, and a third answers phones and routes calls.