St. Marys Journal Argus
Dr. Michael Nixon and his staff will begin taking patients at the brand new St. Marys Dentistry location on Water Street South, next to the St. Marys Vet Clinic, on Monday, Dec. 8. It certainly will mark an exciting transition for the people who took over the practice originated many years ago by Dr. Jim Loucks. But it won’t mark an end to transition.
Early next year, the other dental practitioner in St. Marys, Dr. Karl Weselan, will also relocate his business to the same location, putting all of the community’s dental patients into a brand new, spacious building with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
Nixon hosted an extremely well-attended Grand Opening at the new offices on Sunday, Nov. 30.
“From a structural standpoint, it was really not a whole lot different from building a house,” explained Grand Opening guest Brett Bickell of Bickell Built Homes, which oversaw the construction of the attractive building beginning in April of this year. He quickly added, however, that a series of other factors made it far more intricate than the average residential project.
Building a commercial building, he noted, there are a lot more rules that they have to be aware of outside of just the building code and fire code. There’s legislation dealing with access for people with disabilities, and workplace safety legislation, among others.
“Being a dental facility, there are lead-lined walls to protect against radiation from x-rays, and it has medical equipment and medical grade plumbing and electrical work,” Nixon added.
In addition, many people driving by as the project worked its way towards completion noticed what looked like multiple water lines coming into each of what would become the 10 “operatory” rooms of the new dental care facility. And Bickell confirmed that water service was a huge added requirement.
“There’s 25,000 lineal feet of water line in this building, which is astonishing, when you think about it.”
But there are also vacuum lines, electrical lines and others. “As far as the utilities that we had to make allowances for, it was a whole lot more complex (than the average home),” he commented. “It was definitely a challenge. But what’s life without a few challenges?”
Challenges for Dr. Nixon and his staff, meanwhile, are what they were aiming to overcome as they looked forward to Monday’s official opening of the new location. And, while patients may not necessarily have noticed all of the deficiencies that were present in the Knox Apartments location (although the lack of parking, for sure, is one people have been unable to avoid), he’s certain patients will be impressed by the improvements, too.
Parking and the increased space inside, of course, will be immediately noticeable. And Dr. Weselan, speaking to the Journal Argus at last weekend’s Grand Opening, was quick to agree.
“It will be nice to practice with lots of room, and lots of parking, and in a brand new building,” said Weselan, who initiated a professional relationship not long after Dr. Nixon took over the former Loucks practice over three years ago. He did so, he explained, because he wanted the two dental practitioners to be able to cover off for each other for holidays, sick days, or emergencies when one or the other was not available to provide care.
With the two dentists very soon to be operating under the same roof — albeit with separate businesses and retaining their existing staff — that type of relationship will only be easier to maintain.
But patients, stresses Nixon, should also be thrilled with the new and, in many cases, higher-quality equipment, and modern décor and surroundings.
“We have brand new equipment and dental chairs which will decrease the need for repairs,” Nixon said of the improvements he’ll see with the move. “The new office has a layout that is more comfortable and convenient for our patients as it separates the operatories from the reception and waiting area, offering privacy to the patients. We will also have a separate office for our treatment coordinator, which will allow for patients to better discuss their treatment options and feel comfortable while doing so.”
“The new office will be equipped with nitrous sedation for those patients with dental anxiety. And the operatories will also offer more privacy to the patients, as they have doors.”
The new facility is about 5,600 square feet with ample parking, sized to accommodate the patients from what were actually three St. Marys dental clinics — including those who were served by the late Dr. John Pellow. Prior to Dr. Pellow’s retirement, Nixon made an agreement to offer his services to the late dentist’s patients, and many of those patients accepted that offer.
The new building is equipped with 10 “operatories.” Six will be occupied by Dr. Nixon’s practice and the other four by Dr. Weselan’s. The reception area will be shared by the two practices, as well as the second floor which has a lunch room and locker room for all staff, and offices for the doctors — including a third office for the “associate” that Dr. Nixon hopes to bring into the practice in the near future.
At present, Nixon plans on using just four of the six operatories available to his practice. Bringing on the associate, he says, should eventually allow him to increase the patient load and use the other two rooms as well.
Weselan, too, has plans to expand his patient load once the move is complete. He expects to begin taking on another 250 patients at some point soon, on a first-come, first-served basis. For 10 years, he has not taken on new patients because there just wasn’t space to accommodate them at his existing core-area Water Street location. “We’ve had to turn patients away, which you never want to have to do.” Over the same time, he hasn’t had reason to increase his staff complement, but there is now the potential to add.
Nixon, meanwhile, has already hired another hygienist. “With the new hires I will be able to open more evening appointments,” he says.
The Stonetown Arts group of artists will be using the new office as a gallery to showcase local talent. “We hope our patients will find the new office much more relaxing and inviting, with a more modern look, natural lighting, up-to-date equipment and more parking,” Nixon comments.
He also said he wants to thank Brett Bickell from Bickell Built Homes, as well as all of the suppliers of building materials and skills who helped make the project possible.
“We also want to extend a thank you to everyone who attended the open house on Sunday, Nov. 30. The support we have from the community of St. Marys is much appreciated and we look forward to serving them in the new location.”