The Nashville Zoo’s Animal Health Center replaces a 30-year-old facility originally designed for a much smaller wildlife park.  Contemporary styling uses natural materials like wood, stone and rock in contrast with metal, concrete and glass to illustrate the convergence of nature and man.

Targeting LEED Silver, the facility is a destination for visitors to discover firsthand how animal care is delivered. A covered observation deck with tiered seating and viewing platform allows visitors to witness surgery and other procedures as they occur. Public traffic is separated from back-of-house functions to enable staff to perform daily tasks and to encourage animal and visitor safety.

Animal holding/treatment and staff zones are positioned to minimize travel times and reduce animals’ anxiety levels during transport. A push alley guides animals along the corridor and an induction stall allows for anesthesia to be administered remotely, both of which promote animal and staff safety. Treatment and holding areas also incorporate daylighting to help preserve animals’ natural circadian rhythm throughout treatment. The new facility includes one OR and one treatment room, housing an animal ICU, nursery, X-ray, lab, pharmacy and other ancillary support spaces. A new 2,660-square-foot Quarantine Building will also connect to the existing Animal Quarantine Building.

Adjacent to the main lobby, a large classroom, conference room and multifunctional spaces will attract a variety of community groups. With views of adjacent zoo exhibits, these spaces will also provide a location for revenue-generating special events and after-hours programming. Staff amenities like locker rooms with showers and overnight sleep rooms will help attract top-notch students and professionals.