The Animal Clinic of Windermere is gearing up for an expansion that will benefit both pets and people who step inside the building.
Staff officially broke ground on the expansion project Monday, Sept. 23. Donning yellow plastic hard hats and big smiles, the staff radiated excitement, signaling big things ahead for the animal clinic.
Dr. Douglas Pearce bought the roughly 4,733-square-foot clinic in July 2000. Back then, he thought the space was going to be as big as he’d ever need.
“Thankfully, this area’s grown to the point where we’ve added staff, we’ve added doctors and we’ve just kind of outgrown the physical space,” Pearce said. “It was a slow process in getting it going ... so we’re looking forward to (having) more space where we can spread out and hopefully provide additional and more efficient services for my clients.”
Now that the clinic employs 42 people, including six veterinarians, Pearce and his wife, Mary, knew the time had come to expand the physical space. The initial design process began two years ago, and now construction is about to start. According to Orange County documents, the expansion will add 2,388 square feet to the existing facility.
Plans include additions to the building on either side of it, which will allow space for five more exam rooms, creating a total of nine. There also will be a brand-new kennel building with luxury suites for its clients. The existing kennel space will be reallocated.
“Right now we have four examination rooms, which with five or six doctors limits the ability to see patients,” Pearce said.
Heather Hurlock, the clinic’s hospital administrator, added that the luxury suites in the new kennel area are among the biggest highlights of the project.
“We’ll have a separate area for the small dogs that’s exclusive for them so they’re not with the big dogs, and they have a real nice indoor/outdoor play area,” Hurlock said. “That’s going to be real exciting for the kennel part. As far as medicine, we’re going to be adding some new services … we’re ironing all that out. We are upgrading our entire facility so we’ll have separate surgery and radiology. We hope to bring a little bit of a specialty here to Windermere so people don’t have to travel so far.”
She added that they anticipate growth over the next couple of years as the clinic adds more doctors and medical services.
Pearce said he hopes that the expansion will be complete by summer of 2020.
“The patient movement and the people movement is going to be more efficient,” he said. “We’re certainly looking forward to getting started and getting it completed.”