Churchville Veterinary Clinic, established in 1970, has become the trusted caregiver for pets in northern Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania. This full-service animal practice focuses on compassionate and comprehensive care for beloved pets. As they approached the 50th anniversary of the practice, the owner wanted to create a modern, state-of-the-art facility to attract younger staff, and offer their patients top of the line services and care.
The existing practice was built in four different stages, with outdated finishes and irregular workflows throughout the building. The main goal for the owner was to remain operational throughout construction, so the care of their patients was not impacted. When Keystruct began working with the owner, a three phased construction plan was developed to ensure the clinic remained open with minimal disruptions.
Because the first two phases of the project were interior upgrades, the owner requested Keystruct to recommend an architectural designer to create the basic design and help with color and finish selections. The relationship that developed during the design of the first two phases between the owner, the architectural designer, and the Keystruct pre-construction team was so successful that the owner used Keystruct’s architectural designer for the third phase addition as well.
The pre-construction design process took place over the course of approximately 12 months, with several meetings including the owner, the architectural designer, the M/E/P firms, and the Keystruct pre-construction team. These initial meetings laid out the best sequencing of the individual phases to maintain operation of the clinic, and allowed a thorough discussion of anticipated problems so solutions were developed before the problems could arise.
Based on the owner’s needs to have the boarding/grooming area with a new entrance, completed prior to the summer months, and the busiest boarding season, this was included in the first phase of construction. In addition to the boarding area, phase one included a cat room and an enlarged staff breakroom. All of the phase one areas received new doors and hardware, ceilings, wiring, LED lighting, paint, custom casework, and flooring. The flooring was a mixture of LVT plank and epoxy flooring in the kennels, with the flooring finishes matching throughout to eliminate the need for transition strips where dirt and germs could accumulate.
A stone front entrance leads to the boarding and grooming check-in area, and the new cat room, separated from the entrance by a glass wall. The cat room features owner-supplied cat condos, that have a specialized ventilation system to pull smells out of the enclosed condos. Custom cabinets were built to conceal the piping and fan units that vent the odors to the outside.
Three outdated kennel spaces received a make-over as part of the first phase. One kennel remained as the boarding kennel, one kennel was repurposed for pre- and post-op care, and the third kennel was divided into two spaces. One portion functions as a small dog kennel, while the other portion is a rehabilitation room with rubber flooring where aquatic equipment for the treatment of disabled and older pets will be installed.
All of the kennel areas feature epoxy flooring that continues over the block walls to prevent damage from the dogs housed inside. Additionally, custom 2 x 2 sound panels were strategically placed inside the kennel spaces to dampen the echo of barking. Exhaust fans were installed to minimize odors inside the kennel spaces. Keystruct coordinated with the owner’s subcontractor who installed new plexiglass kennel doors with stainless steel holders for food and water bowls.
Included in the initial phasing for the job was a new staff breakroom. The old grooming room was completely renovated to create a new space that is double the size of the old breakroom. The new space features plentiful wall sockets and USB chargers, high-top tables and chairs, a custom cubby hole system for staff storage of personal items, and cabinets/counter-top with microwaves.
While phase one was under construction, the design of phase two was underway so that the next phase would seamlessly follow phase one. The phase two work involved moving and relocating areas within the clinic to create better functionality and maximize space use, along with the upgrade of finishes and features for modernization of the facility. A new laboratory was developed from an old exam room. A new surgical/dental prep area was created, the x-ray room was renovated, and an isolation room was constructed for animals with undiagnosed but potentially contagious illnesses.
Surgical support spaces and the operating room were upgraded with epoxy flooring, LVT plank, high-end lighting, owner-supplied casework, and stainless-steel tables with drains, as well as new med gas piping and drops for convenience throughout the spaces. The dental x-ray equipment was relocated to this area for better functionality.
As phase two was commencing, design for phase three was underway. This work involved the renovation and upgrade of the remaining exam rooms and pharmacy, as well as the construction of the new addition for the main check-in/check-out desk, dedicated cat and dog waiting areas, and a private consultation room. This phase also including all the exterior work, including new siding on all four sides of the building, new roofing systems, gutters, soffits, and stone veneer.
Because of the extensive work on the exterior, with multiple subtrades, construction was at times blocking every entrance to the building. In addition to daily meetings with on-site staff to prepare them for the day’s activities, additional communication with the clinic staff was key to maintaining their operation with no disruptions. Constant updates, often hourly, allowed clinic staff to alert the superintendent to incoming patients needing access to certain areas. Additionally, in the event of euthanasia procedures, the clinic staff had construction halted to allow a peaceful environment for the pet and their grieving families.
During phase one and three of the project, all activity adjacent to the the surgical areas had cease between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm every day while surgeries were prepped and performed, in order to limit noise levels. This included façade framing, siding, and roofing work, as well as interior upgrades. The crews would work around those surgical areas first thing in the morning, then at 10:00 they would move to a different location and continue working until 1:30. After the surgeries were completed, the subs would move back to the original location and continue working for the rest of the day. This required careful planning by the superintendent to make sure there was no lost productivity, as well as no impacts to the doctors and staff performing the surgeries.
By far the biggest challenge throughout this job was to keep the clinic operational and not impact the patient care and the daily work of the staff. Additionally, it was very important to provide a safe and secure environment for staff to escort pets into the necessary treatment areas, so the animals did not encounter frightening noises or dangerous construction debris. Our field staff worked hard to ensure that the clinic staff felt comfortable throughout construction, but particularly during phase three when Keystruct staff and subtrades were in every part of the building. The superintendent held several meetings with the entire staff to make sure they were part of the conversation, and head off potential problems before they arose. This put the whole staff at ease and made them feel part of the process.
The completed project has received many compliments from clients and members of the Churchville community. Throughout construction many people commented on the day-to-day differences that they observed, and many were amazed by the speed of the construction. The building inspectors complemented Keystruct on the quality and workmanship exhibited in the finished project. The entire team at the Churchville Veterinary Clinic has expressed their gratitude in our efforts to bring their vision for a modern veterinary practice to life. Keystruct is very proud to have taken part in this project, which will serve the needs of the clinic’s patients in a modern, state-of-the-art facility for many years to come.
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