Office of the Month: “A Well-Planned Expansion”
As Vincent J. Mariano, a prosthodontist, and Lisa B. Emirzian, a restorative and esthetic dentist, planned the expansion of their East Longmeadow, Massachusetts office, they presented a challenging “wish list” of goals to Dental Office Design Specialist Garrett Ludwig. The doctors wanted all of the goals on the “wish list” to be incorporated into the expanded structure. The project: add 1,800 square feet to the doctors’ existing 2,000-square-foot facility.
The “wish list” presented to Ludwig (Diversified Design Technologies, Inc., of Hartford, Connecticut) included these items:
Maintain areas for separate practices due to specialty difference. The requirements included semi-private sections with space for each doctor’s office administrator.
Separate the administrative space from the clinical space. It is the doctors’ contention that the clinical area needs to be focused on health care without interferences from the business office.
Centrally locate the consultation area to allow clinicians to have confidential conversations with patients in a non-clinical environment.
Provide an environment that reflects the quality of care and doctors’ passion for excellence.
Assure staff involvement in the decision-making process as it relates to the planning of clinical and administrative support areas in the office.
The doctors were willing to spend the time to go through the necessary planning stages to achieve their goals, says Ludwig. “Certainly, they had a budget. But, the budget was based on the expected return on their investment, as opposed to a predetermined expense that they would amortize over the next 10 years.”
The doctors fully supported their staff’s involvement in the planning process. They felt that staff members perform their best when there are adequate working accommodations and personal space.
The 1,500 square feet of new space on the main level is dedicated to administrative services, a reception area, staff lounge and commercial-quality laboratory. The additional 300 square feet of space on the second level (loft area) is dedicated to video imaging, a custom porcelain shading area and private conference space.
“Special attention,” adds Ludwig, “was paid to lighting in this New England office to balance an environment that includes gloomy winter days and seasonably diminished daylight.” The dome’s skylight, above the upper level, not only defines the pyramid-like lines of the building, but provides a substantial amount of daylight. The natural lighting, combined with the open space that is enhanced by the sloped, oak ceilings and balconies, engenders a feeling of relaxation, comfort and, above all, concern for the patients’ well-being.