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The following article courtesy of Veterinary Economics and may not be reproduced without permission.
Cover Story, Part 2, Page 1
By Sarah A. Moser, Associate Editor
Dr. James William Poage added nearly 800 square feet to the reception area of Valley Animal Hospital in Roanoke, Va. The addition gives team members and clients room to move--and boosts employee morale.
Design experts say it takes careful planning to complete a successful remodeling project. But in most cases they don't mean 10 years of planning. Still, Dr. James William Poage, owner of Valley Animal Hospital in Roanoke, Va., says spending nearly a decade plotting the addition and remodeling of his practice was well worth the time. "I wouldn't change a thing now," he says.
And the 2002 Hospital Design Competition judges agreed with Dr. Poage that his hospital makeover turned out well. In fact, so well they awarded his practice the One-Room Makeover Award, praising his tasteful product display, jungle skylight, and client refreshment center.
Dr. Poage worked in the practice, originally a laundromat, as an associate for 12 years before buying the practice from Dr. Ralph Ayers, in 1992. "When I bought the hospital, I said I'd add on and remodel in 2000," says Dr. Poage. "The smaller facility worked great when it was just Dr. Ayers and me, but as the practice grew, we were stumbling over ourselves, especially in the 325-square-foot reception area."
So in 1997 Dr. Poage started drawing new floor plans, and in 1999 he gave the plans to an architect to make formal designs. "For years I'd been mentally knocking out walls and rearranging things in my mind," he says. "It was time to get something on paper."
Twenty years worth of history with the same bank--where the president, vice president, and customer service representatives were all Dr. Poage's clients--made financing the project simple. "All I had to do to secure financing was fill out a few courtesy applications," he says.
Cover Story, Part 2, Page 2
Cover Story, Part 2, Page 3
keeping things clean now," he says. "And they're more excited to take pet owners and potential clients on tours. Before, you almost had to turn sideways to get through certain areas. Now there's room to move, and our team members and clients love it."
Upon completion of the renovation, Dr. Poage hired two practice hostesses--retired women who greet clients, give tours, hold dogs while clients write checks, water the plants, dust the front areas, and help clients to their cars. "They do a great job keeping clients happy and maintaining the reception area," he says.
A new refreshment center adds to the client-friendly atmosphere, featuring coffee, cider, pastries, and dog treats. The station also includes three computers that allow clients to view the practice's Web site (www.valleyanimalhospital.com), educational pet-related CD-ROMs and other Web sites.
Although 10 years may be a long time to plan a renovation project, Dr. Poage still asserts that planning is key. "Visualize your perfect building, and set a dollar amount that you're willing and able to spend," he says. "Then try to balance that perfect building with what you can afford. I was extremely pleased that I didn't have to back away from my vision, and it came in under the budget I'd set for the project."±
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