These days, patients to the Pepperell Veterinary Hospital might have a difficult time recognizing it. This is not because of the construction indicated by the neon orange fencing and variety of construction equipment, but because the entire front view of the building is being obscured by a giant trailer absorbing the majority of the yard. The trailer is a mobile examination room, and patients can expect to see the inside of it at some point over the next several months, thanks to the expansion that the building is currently undergoing.
Although yellow tape blocks spectators from getting an up-close view, it is clear from the construction crew operating heavy power tools that the back of the building is getting a total overhaul -- and that's not all. Upon walking in to the building, it becomes immediately apparent that the entire back wall of the waiting room has been pushed out by several feet.
"We are kind of bursting at the seams so to speak right now so we're adding two more exam rooms and a larger waiting room and an additional treatment area," said Kathy Howard, the desk manager.
The hospital sees approximately 25 to 35 patients a day, Howard estimated. They largely specialize in cats and dogs and are accommodating the space for the different species.
"We are also going to divide the waiting room to have a cat section and a dog section," said Howard.
Furthermore, the hospital is raising the roof, said Howard -- hence the trailers. For the
"We can't risk having the clients or the staff in the hospital underneath while they're putting the roof on," said Howard.
The staff will also be able to operate out of the back dental exam room in the afternoons and evenings.
The reason behind the expansion is simple.
"We're adding on ...to provide better service for our clients," said Howard. "We have two doctors on appointments and only three exam rooms, so we don't have enough rooms to have the next patient waiting for a doctor. We also don't have a room for a technician to do appointments. We needed more rooms to run a lot smoother."
The project, which began in mid-July, is expected to take until November to complete, although it's been up for discussion for couple of years according to Howard.
"Due to the recession we didn't feel secure in making those changes at the time with the added costs," said Howard. "But business seems to be doing okay so we felt at this time to go ahead and do it."
Howard said that by the time the work is completed it will be be noticeable from the front, but the back is getting the biggest makeover.
"Mostly, for someone that's going to be looking at the front of the hospital, the difference is going to be height of roof; it's going to be much higher than it is right now," said Howard. "Other than the roof, it won't look a whole lot different because the actual addition is going on in the back of the hospital."
Howard said patients in need of care need not worry about receiving it during or after the project.
"We're not changing our hours, we're not changing our service ... we're not doing anything different. It's still going to be operating the same way as it was operating before," said Howard. "We're just going to have more room to do it in."