Building for business: Take two

Building for business: Take two

May 01, 2007

ASK MOST VETERINARIANS WHY THEY BUILD NEW facilities, and they generally say something like, "We've run out of space. We're bursting at the seams. We need more exam rooms to function properly." However, Dr. Dermot Jevens and his partner, Dr. Keith Allen, decided to build long before staff members started tripping over each other in the treatment room.

Specialty lobby: To maintain natural light—a feature the whole team loves—the design incorporates two towering atriums, one in the specialty area and one in oncology. Seven-foot-tall stone sculptures and water elements in each atrium provide a sense of calm.
The owners of Upstate Veterinary Specialists in Greenville, S.C., constructed a stunning 12,760-square-foot building in 2002 that earned them the 2003 Veterinary Economics Hospital of the Year award. A mere two years, three months, and seven days after opening that facility, Drs. Jevens and Allen placed a call to Mark Hafen, AIA, their architect, and asked him to double their space.

Laying out the plan

This expansion grew from the doctors' wish to make cancer management a core part of their practice. "And to do it well," Dr. Jevens says, "we needed to dedicate space to our oncology patients."

Floor plan: Upstate Veterinary Specialists/Animal Emergency Clinic
The increased cancer caseload would demand expansion in the surgery suites, too. These doctors didn't want to wait until the practice was bursting at the seams. They wanted to build again as soon as it was financially feasible—and while the current space could still accommodate team members easily.

Oncology and specialty entrances: Each entrance complements the practice and yet is unique and easily identifiable. Large atriums, lit at night, serve as landmarks and draw in clients. The linear accelerator is visible from this view.
In the end, Drs. Jevens and Allen pulled off an expansion and a renovation less than four years after opening the doors of their original facility. Business is good, clients and team members are happy, and the bonus: The facility's design garnered them a second Veterinary Economics nod for excellence, this time with a Merit Award for best specialty practice in the 2007 Hospital Design Competition.

Wraparound building

Endoscopy suite: Technology is used extensively not only to help produce efficient work patterns in the practice, but also to help educate clients about the nature of their pets' problems.
"I challenge anyone to pick out where the old practice space ends and the new space starts," Dr. Jevens says. "It's impossible to tell." That's just how seamless he and Dr. Allen wanted the design to be. But it wasn't easy.