Most new properties don’t take eight years to be completed—and most growing businesses don’t expect to be in one place for 19 years.
And now the staff of the is making its first big change with a move to a new location just down the road.
“Once we transfer, our first location is going to be like our starter home,” said Dr. Bruce Levinston, of the Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital, which he opened in its location on Route 202/206 19 years ago. “We did not think we would be here this long.”
But now the business is on the move, as Levinston and his staff are preparing for a move to a currently-being-constructed building on Route 202/206 by Foothill Road that is eight years in the making.
“After 19 years, we grew out of the first place,” he said.
Now, Levinston said, they are creating a new veterinary hospital from scratch, creating a 6,000-square-foot property on about one acre of land, all being built by Sweetwater Construction.
“We wanted to stay very close to our current location because of our clientele,” he said. “This made the most sense and it was the only available vacant property.”
Levinston said he found this property of about two-and-a-half acres, but it is mostly wetlands, so he is only able to use about one acre of it.
“The reputation of Bridgewater drew us here in the first place, and the need for a vet drew us here,” he said. “That [area on Foothill Road] is the nicest piece here.”
Part of the reason the planning has taken so long, Levinston said, is because of the need for permits, particularly because of the wetlands.
“We had some approvals that took a few years,” he said. “We broke ground at the end of June.”
The building is expected to be completed around June 2012.
At this point, Levinston said, the veterinary practice has just grown out of its current surroundings, where they only have two exam rooms, a waiting room that also serves as a training room and no separate areas for dogs and cats.
“This building is restricting,” he said. “And the stairs make it hard to move pets.”
“And the staff doesn’t have a place to relax, we’ve just been making due,” he added.
The new building, Levinston said, will have separate waiting areas for dogs and cats, five exam rooms and dog runs for the animals to move around.
“There will be separate wards so it will be less stressful for cats,” he said. “And the more exam rooms will help with workflow and wait time.”
Plus, Levinston said, the exam rooms will be noise reducing so there is more privacy for families waiting inside.
“And there will be a separate dental suite and expanded surgery,” he said. “We will have an intensive care unit, and all state-of-the-art equipment.”
Some of that equipment will include digital radiography, ultrasound equipment, two surgery tables, a chemotherapy facility and other work.
All of these separate facilities and extra equipment have not been available before, Levinston said, because of the lack of space in the current building.
Levinston said they are also hoping to create more of a wellness center at the new hospital with the addition of acupuncture, rehabilitation opportunities and massages for the animals, in addition to more training classes for puppies and adult dogs, and a consultation room for discussing sensitive issues.
“We are also looking into a lecture series for staff and clients,” he said. “And we will have an isolation room for those with contagious diseases.”
The building will also be handicapped-accessible, with offices in the basement and plenty of parking all around.
Levinston said the hospital currently has about 20 employees, and things are just too cramped at their current location.
“We plan to hire more people and expand our services,” he said. “To expand, we will have to increase our staff.”
Levinston said it has been a long process to get the new place going, particularly when he got started on the permits and had to deal with the Department of Environmental Protection due to the wetlands in the area.
“Once we bought the property, it was too late to switch,” he said. “We didn’t realize what it meant with the wetlands.”
“Many businesses have attempted to build there, but we have perseverance,” he added. “The property is fantastic.”
Levinston said he is hoping to also attract new clients to the business, which usually gets is name out through word-of-mouth advertising. He said currently people miss it as they drive past, but hopefully the new building will stand out more.
“People have driven by here and not know about us,” he said. “We are hoping we will get more clients.”
“But we are very excited,” he added. “It’s been a long haul.”