Auburn, Alabama —
Belina Leigh, a two-year old Rottweiler, put her front paws on the edge of the admissions desk at the Auburn University Veterinary Clinic, part of the new Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.
Excited by the unfamiliar surroundings, she jumped on top of the desk. Belina Leigh’s owner, Mickey Forbus, helped clinic staff Amy Wiley and Casey Milton assist Belina Leigh back to the floor. Forbus has been bringing Belina Leigh to the AU clinic for wellness visits since she was a baby. “I think the new facility is really nice,” said Forbus.
Other patients, clients, and staff are also enjoying the amenities of the new veterinary care facilities as finishing work takes place and preparation for the third phase of the project is underway.
Faculty and staff moved into the new 208,000 square-foot hospital beginning last month. While occupants are adjusting to their new environment, they are appreciating the new space and features.
Kay Ramsey and Cheryl Hugaboom, who work in client services on the referral side of the teaching hospital, noted their enthusiasm for the move. “I love it. It’ll take time to be the new normal, but overall, this change has been very positive. We really like the openness of the facility,” said Hugaboom.
“It is a beautiful building and has plenty of room for expansion. It’s very different from where we were,” added Ramsey.
Clients who visit the hospital will find two separate entrances. The east entrance is for clients who are referred to the hospital for specialty care. The west entrance is for the Auburn University Veterinary Clinic and after-hours emergency services.
Veterinarians at the veterinary clinic believe the teaching hospital is positive from an employee’s perspective and also for the client.
“We love our new hospital! For me, personally, since I work in the vet clinic, it’s been a very positive and exciting change because it allows us to function as a private practice, with the benefit of being attached to a specialty hospital at our back door—literally,” said Dr. Sara-Louise Newcomer, a veterinarian at the AU Veterinary Clinic.
“As far as patient care, for our feline friends, it has elevated our level of care as we have designated feline-only exam rooms and we are able to give extra attention to their needs. Our cat owners have already noticed the difference and love it,’ she added.
Interior and exterior finish work items continue at the teaching hospital with the completion of pavement and a wooden fence on the west side of the hospital.
The last phase of the project is anticipated to begin soon and includes the connection of the hospital to Hoerlein Hall, along with administrative office renovations inside Hoerlein. A new outdoor dog park and pedestrian bridge connecting Bailey Hospital to the Veterinary Education Center will also be constructed, and expected to be complete in September.
Belina Leigh and owner Mickey Forbus at the Auburn University Veterinary Clinic.