On March 25, with the hoisting of the round, backlit sign bearing the AVMA logo, construction workers completed the renovation of the AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill.
A canopy now graces the main entrance, protecting visitors from inclement weather, and the lobby has been remodeled and includes a beautiful, highly durable terrazzo floor and anigre wood panels with fissured grain. A new handicapped-access ramp and automatic, motion-driven entry door will be especially helpful for people visiting the health care center located on the second floor.
"We are extremely pleased with the remodeling of the AVMA entryway and lobby. The appearance is not only pleasing to the eye, but includes features that improve the efficiency of the building," said Dr. Bruce W. Little, executive vice president of the AVMA. "For instance, the automatic doors allow people to enter the building if their hands are full or if you have small children. The airlock improves the quality control of the air that comes into or is removed from the building. It is very efficient."
Outside landscaping includes a grotto and a drop-off area that sports heritage brown pave and black concrete tiles arranged in a semicircular design. The drop-off area is also equipped with a snow-melting system. A two-foot-wide arc of black concrete that draws people toward the entrance outside is continued on the inside floor with a black arc leading people toward the elevators.
The remodeling was the idea of Dr. James H. Brandt, who proposed the project while serving as president in 2001. The Executive Board unanimously approved the project, and remodeling began in spring 2003.
Dan Murawski, director of the AVMA Business Division, says the new look and features are more inviting and that during the renovations, two new tenants moved in. The tenants include 10 that are not affiliated with the AVMA. Now, only 3,000 of the 76,000 square feet of the building are unoccupied, versus roughly 13,000 in January 2003.
"We have 4 percent of the building unoccupied now, which is not bad at all," Murawski said. "The renovations should help in the future with vacant space. They really spiced up the lobby and added to the beauty of the building."
The money to fund the remodeling project came from the AVMA reserves. The Executive Board believes that, because the current return on invested monies has been at an all-time low, investing in the building is the wisest move for now and will yield a higher return. Lease income is an important source of revenue for the AVMA—in 2003, the AVMA netted $515,000 in income from it.
Improving the property will increase the value of the AVMA's asset and make the building more attractive to lessees, which is important because Schaumburg has many rental properties. In addition to more than 11.5 million square feet of retail and commercial space, Schaumburg has in excess of 9.5 million square feet of office space and 1.8 million square feet of office under construction or planned for the near future. "I think the new surroundings will enhance the headquarters building for the next two decades or so," Dr. Little said.
The AVMA is now considering purchasing a row house office in Washington, D.C., for the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. If the purchase is finalized, the money will also come from the reserves. AVMA Treasurer James F. Peddie is recommending buying that property for some of the same reasons that the Schaumburg headquarters was remodeled.