We stopped by the construction site to check out the progress last weekend, and found the clinic coming to life like Frankenstein’s monster. The building’s airways (ductwork), lungs (air handlers), and circulatory system (plumbing) are in the process of being installed. Some of the outer skin—in the form of sheetrock covering the dividing walls—has been applied, as well. Other “body” parts lay stacked in the shell for use in the upcoming days. While there’s really not that much to see, it was interesting to get a look at what goes into a commercial construction project such as this.
While most buildings are built “from the ground up,” tenant improvements to a leased space like ours actually take place from “the inside out.” The existing concrete slab must be trenched in order to lay pipe, and walls and all the other “guts” are put into place inside an existing shell. Undoubtedly, this poses some unique challenges for the construction crew. One thing that really fascinated me were the deep holes required to tap our drain pipes into the larger drains running below the entire shopping center (left). Knowing where to find the existing pipe obviously required very accurate plans and great attention to detail during the design and construction of the shopping center itself. The tenant’s architect then uses the information from the shopping center drawings to indicate what must go where for everything to be able to connect. Finally, the contractor needs make accurate measurements, cut the slab, and dig with almost surgical precision. Talk about teamwork!
One of the necessary additional expenses we faced on our project was the need to install a fourth air conditioning unit atop the roof. This will help ensure proper ventilation and help keep our patients, clients, and staff cool during our hot summers. While the shopping center plans called for enough AC to cool an “average” business, all those warm furry bodies can really heat the place up—particularly when added to the heat generated by the computers, in-house lab instruments, and anesthetic monitoring equipment that make a state-of-the-art veterinary practice tick.
At the end of the week we’ll be off to the Central Veterinary Conference in Kansas City. Like most large veterinary conferences, it will feature a huge exhibit hall full of the latest and greatest equipment and medical supplies. For us, it will be a big flea market, where we will look for the best deals on all the equipment we will need to take great care of your pets. But it will be much more than a four-day shopping trip. Conferences such as this are what keep us sharp even 10 years after graduation from veterinary school (yes, she might look young, but Dr. Burns’ 10-year reunion is next March!). There will be over 30 hours of continuing education available for veterinarians—and some 300 hours of lecture topics to choose from. While we’re required to attend at least 20 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain our veterinary license, both Dr. Burns and Dr. Griswold typically attend 40 to 60 lecture hours per year to help ensure we’re never behind the times and our skills are always improving.