In late summer of 2016, Tocci completed the third of four phases of a renovation project for a local academic small animal veterinary hospital.
Phase 1: construction of office and clinical swing spaces.
Phase 2: emergency and critical care unit was expanded and renewed to facilitate the increased demand for emergency services.
Phase 3: addition to the hospital was completed along with several new exam rooms. The lobby addition contains much of the architectural character of the project, and includes a sloping wood ceiling line clad by wood ceiling panels, comfortable and warm seating arrangements, and a durable, warm, large-format porcelain tile floor. Every aspect of the design was thoughtfully considered by the project team, ensuring the products would be comfortable for clients as well as veterinary patients, and that it would stand the test of time from the perspectives of both maintenance and aesthetic appeal.
Phase 4: The final phase of the project will consist of special care treatment and exam rooms for cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, neurology, zoological companion animal medicine, as well as clinical support work spaces.
Owning a pet has helped to inform much of our construction execution methodology (something I’m slightly surprised to say). Staying mindful to the impacts that our renovation work has on the clinicians and clients, but also on animals that, in many cases, have heightened senses of vision, smell, or noise. (If the sound of a circular saw is annoying for a person, it’s torturous for a dog – a dog can hear about four times better than humans.)
Seeing your work through the empathetic lens of, “If I was here with my pet, how would this make me feel?” has helped to guide the decision-making process. Many animals are already nervous just being in a veterinary office, taking into consideration their state of mind informed the execution of work. While there is no calming way to break concrete to install new underground plumbing lines, being considerate of the hours that the work is scheduled is one way we can be as thoughtful as possible as we help to bring the facility into its next era of delivering superb care.
As the owner of an aging rescued chocolate Labrador retriever, I knew that I may need the services of this facility – unfortunately it happened sooner rather than later. Over Thanksgiving weekend, when my dog was refusing to stand up because of his hind leg, I found myself a client of my client. Thankfully, the clinicians were able to quickly diagnose the problem which, while urgent, was not life threatening and my pet is back to his goofy Labrador self.
While waiting in the newly opened lobby that day, I was able to see the client experience as a client, and through the eyes of my husband who was having his first view of the facility. I’m happy to say that the intended architectural experience of creating a calm and comfortable atmosphere for clients (human and animal) in times of high stress and anxiety was realized. Some features of the lobby include cubbies under seats for pets to huddle in away from the noise and commotion of a busy animal hospital, a water fountain fit for a pooch, and special waiting area for cats only. Unique projects like this, show us how to view the project from all angles which is especially important in occupied renovations or additions.
I’m looking forward to seeing the final renovations for the project completed this spring to allow the facility to continue to serve the local pet-owner community and its veterinary students with excellence for the next generation.