Officers on the road

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This spring, partial renovation and remodeling of the AVMA headquarters got under way. The project, proposed in 2001 by then AVMA President James H. Brandt and unanimously approved by the Executive Board, will be completed this month, making the property safer, more attractive, and a more valuable investment for the AVMA.

Does the AVMA building's new appearance fulfill former president Dr. James H. Brandt's vision?

 Dr. Bruce W. Little, AVMA executive vice president, responds:

Yes, I believe so. Dr. Brandt was three years into an architecture degree before he turned to veterinary medicine, and he thoroughly enjoyed being part of the planning process for remodeling the entrance and first floor of AVMA headquarters. I think the project came out very much like he hoped it would.

Has the renovation project stayed on budget and on schedule?

It looks like we're going to end up right on budget. From the standpoint of time, we're probably going to be around two weeks behind schedule. This is the result of several factors. We lost those days because of discrepancies with the village of Schaumburg over construction plans during the permit stage. Laying the paving bricks was delayed because of putting down asphalt in the parking lot. And then we got three or four days of rain when no outside work could be done.

What challenges arose during the project?

There weren't too many challenges. (Executive Assistant) Darlene Berend and (Editor-in-Chief) Dr. Janis Audin did a magnificent job overseeing the day-to-day work. There were minor disruptions in the parking and in entering the building. But we are pleased with the project, overall, and it's really, really beautiful.

Considering AVMA staff involvement, construction, and costs, how big of an undertaking has this been?

Any remodeling project budgeted at three-quarters of a million dollars is a major undertaking, but we feel it went very well. Darlene and Janis are to be commended for the work they've done to keep the project as invisible as possible. The tenants on the first floor have been satisfied as well.

Apart from the obvious aesthetic value, are there practical benefits of the renovation?

The benefits are huge. The tendency for people parking in the AVMA lot was to enter the building through the side service door where the handicap ramp is located. Now we have access to the front of the building straight from the parking lot. All people will come through that entrance. Aside from that, we have automatic, motion-driven entry doors. This provides those who frequent the health care center on the second floor with easy access. The door arrangement provides us with an air lock, which will help conserve energy. Another new feature is the beautiful terrazzo floor, which will last forever. Also, the outside overhang will allow people to be dropped off at the building's entrance—a plus during inclement weather. The new look and features are more inviting, increasing the leasability of space in the building.

Do you have a favorite design feature?

In the brick just outside the building, there is a two-foot-wide arc of black concrete that draws people toward the entrance. When you get inside, on the terrazzo floor, there's this same two-foot-wide black arc that draws you around to the elevators. So it's a natural attraction for drawing people into the heart of the building. All in all, I think it looks very good.

There are plans to, maybe one day down the road, commend the 140-year-history of the AVMA with an exhibit demonstrating the development of the Association and the profession. We have space in the lobby to do that.