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Denver Zoo Breaks Ground on New Animal Hospital

pdubey@v1-media.com on February 8, 2019 - in News, Projects

Denver, CO – Denver Zoo, Colorado’s most visited cultural attraction, held it’s official groundbreaking on February 7 for its new animal hospital. This is the first major step in the Zoo’s Phase I Master Plan to guide future development. The existing hospital was originally built 51 years ago, and the redesign will modernize its aging infrastructure and improve operating efficiencies.

Led by Stantec, a global architecture, engineering, and consulting firm, the 22,000-square-foot facility will incorporate state-of-the-industry animal care and provide safe access to the animals, offering holding areas that include quarantine spaces. These areas—both indoor and outdoor—will be flexible to maximize the space given to each individual and have features that can be available based on the needs of the occupant. The building design includes considerations for noise, views, and access to daylight to ensure animal comfort.

To raise awareness of the Zoo’s mission to secure a better world for animals through human understanding, the hospital will feature a signature elevated guest lobby providing unobstructed views into the facility’s clinical suite.

The treatment rooms, surgery suite, and laboratory will be viewable to Zoo visitors, guest veterinarians, researchers and students through large windows. Additionally, operating table lights will be installed with cameras, allowing lobby visitors to see what surgeons are seeing through television displays broadcasting live from the surgery suite.

For Zoo guests, the public lobby will be open during Zoo hours and will provide more than just a peek behind the scenes—it will also offer interactive interpretation to allow visitors a deeper understanding of the dedication, resources, care, and passion the Zoo’s animals receive inside the veterinary hospital. Additionally, the hospital will provide new opportunities for research, collaboration, and education to holistically advance animal care.

In addition to a world-class laboratory for diagnostics, nutritional analyses and research, the hospital will have digital radiography equipment, ultrasonography, endoscopy units, and advanced anesthesia monitoring. It will also be one of the only animal hospitals in the country to include a CT scanner, using advanced imaging to revolutionize the ability to diagnose and treat animal patients.

“We’re honored to be working with the Denver Zoo on this transformational project to improve one of the city’s most beloved cultural attractions,” said Alexander Thome, Stantec principal based in Denver. “The new dynamic relationship created by the guest viewing experience will educate, entertain, create empathy and ultimately change the way that the Zoo’s animal welfare and conservation efforts are perceived by the public. This is a project that truly belongs to the Denver community, and we’re thrilled to be breaking ground on it.”

“The new hospital will stand as a testament to the qualities that have defined Denver Zoo for 123 years—innovation, collaboration and—most importantly—dedication to providing the best possible care for our animals here at the Zoo, and protecting wildlife around the world,” said Bert Vescolani, President/CEO of Denver Zoo. “With enhanced facilities and optimized spaces, combined with state-of-the-industry tools, we’ll be able to continue to ensure our animals’ wellbeing for many years to come.”

Stantec’s buildings group in Denver is providing architecture, interior design, and project management on the project. The project is expected to be complete the first quarter of 2020.


About Stantec 

Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That’s why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind. We care about the communities we serve—because they’re our communities too. This allows us to assess what’s needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what’s never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success. We’re designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.


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