Silverthorne Veterinary Hospital looks to expand

The rendering pictured here shows preliminary plans for the new site for Silverthorne Veterinary Hospital. It will be two stories, with the top floor being reserved for employee housing.
Rauhaus Freedenfeld and Associates/Courtesy illustration

The Silverthorne Veterinary Hospital could receive a new site and expansion if approved by Silverthorne Town Council and the town’s planning committee.

Preliminary plans for the site have the first level being the hospital and the upper level being housing for employees of the veterinary clinic. Dr. Justin Milizio, who owns the animal hospital, said that the current space is at capacity when it comes to serving pet owners.

“We found that with the expansion in the town of Silverthorne of new residences, new people moving here, more people being full-time residents — we’ve really had a hard time accommodating people who live here,” Milizio said. “The last few months — for like six, eight months — we’ve been turning away a lot of people that live in the town of Silverthorne, and so we feel like we’re not meeting the veterinary care needs of this town.”

Milizio said that expansion would allow him and his staff to serve more patients. He added that the employee housing — which would be three units, according to the preliminary plan — is crucial in order to keep the hospital staffed. One apartment will be a two-bedroom unit, and the other two will be three-bedroom units.

“Essentially, we’re planning on building this hospital and expanding a little bit of staff,” Milizio said. “We have the second floor to provide some employee housing, which — of course — we’re finding is extremely important to be able to hire anybody.”

Currently, Silverthorne Veterinary Hospital is located at the Town Center, and under the planned unit development, the new site would be on Brian Court and Brian Avenue. Milizio added that there will be five examination rooms for pets. When discussing preliminary plans with the town’s planning commission, he said that parking would not be an issue. Even though the building is large, it will not be at high capacity.

“We have a waiting room, so if we’re technically at the craziest period of time. However, many years from now — and we have five exam rooms full and five clients waiting — that would be 10 people or 10 parking spaces that we would need,” Milizio said. “In terms of being fully staffed at any one point in time, we would have about 10 employees working, so we feel like 28 slots is more than what we need for the space.”

The preliminary plans were presented to Town Council at its regular meeting on April 27. Council was supportive of the endeavor, and several members commended the use of the upper level for housing. In February, the Summit County Veterinary Emergency Group — a group of five local animal hospitals that partner to provide emergency care to animals — ended around-the-clock emergency calls, and opted to stop on-call emergency services at 10 pm because of staff shortages.

“I’m glad to see that you’re going to stay in the county because I think your services are really needed,” council member Tim Applegate said.

Milizio said that hours of operations for the new hospital will be consistent with how the current location runs. Currently, the hospital is open Monday through Saturday. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, hours are 8 am to 6 pm Saturday hours are 8 am to 4 pm Wednesday hours are 9 am until 8 pm An orthopedic surgeon visits once a month to do surgeries on patients, but because of current local demand, he expects that will likely not change when the new building is finished.

“I hope you can consider more orthopedic work, as someone who just had to send thousands of dollars out of the county that could have been spent in the county for repeated work. We all have our fur babies up here,” council member Erin Young said. “There’s people who will spend a lot to keep their orthopedic injuries in check.”

The preliminary plan passed Town Council unanimously.

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