The building that houses North Mecklenburg Animal Hospital at 19126 Statesville Road has looked pretty much the same for 30 years.
Inside, more treatment rooms have been added, but outside it's been the same brick building for the 19 years I've lived in Cornelius.
However, that's soon to change.
After running into obstacles for about five years, the staff at NMAH has "come up with an incredibly dynamic plan," according to Dr. John Schaaf, senior founder. Instead of building an entirely new building, the new facility will incorporate the structure of the old building, expanding to the front toward the street and the side toward the parking lot.
"Remodeling the building won't cost as much as building a new building...it's just a major renovation and addition," Schaaf said.
The facility will be a lot easier to see from N.C. 21 and the Interstate. The appearance will be much updated.
The architect for the new facility is from Colorado.
"All he designs is animal hospitals...he's very animal-centric," Schaaf said.
Besides being able to offer more services, another goal of the new facility is to reduce the stress and anxiety an animal feels going to the vet. "It's not like a medical office, but is designed from the ground up for animals," Schaaf said.
Eventually, NMAH will be one of the largest clinics in the area, with a staff of 11 doctors and a staff of over 40 people.
Before the construction starts, NMAH will offer additional new services.
"The new layout lends itself to having an after-hours emergency service," Schaaf said.
So starting Sept. 3, NMAH will have expanded emergency services until midnight on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and be open until 8 p.m. the other nights, as well as open all day Sunday. This will be an urgent care service, and NMAH will try to accommodate the needs of everyone, animals and their families.
The plan is to eventually be open every night and, with the expansion of the building, eventually have room for a CT Scan, a machine that uses x-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of an animal's body. NMAH will be the only emergency clinic in Cornelius and the only general practice with expanded hours, Schaaf said.
He also said they are not discontinuing any services they currently have. NMAH will continue offering acupuncture for animals. They'll still have boarding, with future plans for expansion of boarding capabilities. They still have the grooming service, Furry Couture, and it's already booked-up.
Schaaf expects to present NMAH's expansion plan at a town meeting on Nov. 1. He encourages anyone who would like to speak for NMAH to attend the meeting. "The town board will, hopefully, issue a temporary use permit," Schaaf said. "Everyone has always been very supportive. It's been a pleasure working with the area and the town."
I asked Schaaf why he is doing all this and he said, "To do the right thing: to better take care of our patients and their families."