Department supervisors of Fichte Endl & Elmer Eyecare recently got a firsthand look at their new work space at the Niagara Medical and Ambulatory Surgical Park, 6500 Porter Road, Town of Niagara.
The tour was led by Kathy Otto, Fichte Endl & Elmer coordinator of marketing and outreach, who also doubles as project coordinator for interiors on the new site.
The 12,000-square-foot office is slated to open July 30 and the attached Ambulatory Surgery Center will open at the end of September. Due to the cold winter, there were many delays laying the foundation, Otto said.
"This set us back," she said. "... We needed to make a decision to either open both facilities in the fall or open one before the other. Our Pine Avenue building (in Niagara Falls) had been sold, and we needed to vacate by Aug. 1. With this in mind, we decided it was of utmost importance not to disrupt our patient flow, so we focused our efforts on getting the office up and running first, with the surgery center to open two months later."
By opening in two stages, all scheduled exams and appointments will be kept intact and patients will have a smoother transition from one building to the other with no down time, Otto said.
Otto said the project has been an 18-month experience. She worked closely with one of the partner's wives, Mara Endl, to make all interior selections. The project was bigger than any either had tackled in the past, so they sought out the help of an interior design firm.
"We wanted the look and feel of Windsong Medical Complex in Williamsville, so we researched who did the interior design work there and hired them," Mara Endl said.
At that point, Buffalo-based Carmina Woods Morris entered the picture, and the project began to move forward.
"This office has a lot of aesthetic details that will set it apart from most offices in the area," Otto said.
A lobby welcomes guests with an atrium, and adjacent is a Wi-Fi bar/coffee station. A children's play area was also added. For cold days, there is a two-sided fireplace. A curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows lets in natural light.
A new feature of the building will be a large Optical Boutique.
"You won't have to be a patient to shop here," said managing optician Gordon Sage. "Anyone can just walk in and take a look."
On the functional side of the design, there is a conference room and a clinical studies center.
With the goal of growing their future business at the new location, the doctors added six additional exam rooms, dedicated special testing rooms and a 1-800 call center.
"We have been dreaming about bringing a state-of-the-art facility of this caliber to our patients for over a decade," partner Dr. Tom Elmer Jr. said. "As eye physicians and surgeons, we have the pleasure of helping people see the world better and now we can do it right in our own neighborhood in a gorgeous new building."
A grand opening party and official ribbon-cutting will take place later this summer, with guided tours of the entire facility, refreshments and live music.
The building was designed by Hyman Hayes, an Albany-based architectural firm, and the general contractor is locally owned and operated Calamar Construction.