After 28 years of medical practice, 17 of them in Colborne, the doctor most of us know as "Iris" had formed some clear ideas and in 2008 she set about to bring them to life. A house search brought her to 56 Toronto Rd., a perfect location on a main road. The house needed repair, but it met her needs. Almost a year later the work is done and the office is open.
The general practitioner is passionate about her work and she cares deeply about the environment. With those two overriding guides, she set to work to create the dream office which she opened on May 27.
A major project
The work done on the office is staggering. She knew how she wanted it to function, but before that happened she had to create the environmental envelope that would improve the energy efficiency of the old home at the southeast corner of Park St and Toronto Rd. And she chose to do it using local contractors and locally sourced materials as much as possible.
The attic was stuffed with insulation to bring it to R54. Every window and exterior door was replaced with Energuide-rated ones. Insulation was blown into the walls. The foundation was sealed and wrapped in insulation and the basement floor cemented.
To keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer she had a geothermal heat pump system installed. Her gas bills are now zero.
Before any of that could be done she had to replace the old knob-and-tube electrical wiring. The roof was replaced and vents added. The mansards over the windows had deteriorated and had to be replaced to maintain the architectural integrity. The land was graded to make the entrance handicapped accessible and alarms were installed throughout.
Receptionist, Carolyn Campbell, is taking your calls.
The ideal interior
Then she set about creating the ideal working interior. Anyone who has been in her new office in its first week will see how successful she has been.
Every room is lit by natural light, giving the entire office a bright, airy feeling. The walls are painted soft colours and accented by fabric art and paintings. She has even left one wall for her patients to display their art.
Nurse, Tara Hess, works the blood pressure monitor for Jordon Campbell.
The floors are all new, with easily cleanable surfaces - hardwood and ceramic tile. The two examination rooms are roomy and have sinks, and there is computer access throughout the office - ideal for a doctor who has gone "paperless". The baby-changing table is set at a height for easy access by parents and staff.
Conscious that the waiting room, converted from a garage, might have cold floors, Dr. Noland had underfloor heating installed.
There are even plans for the deck to make it usable for sitting. And the lawn has been planted with plants which will only need mowing a couple of times a year. Soon a pair of pear trees will be planted on either side of the front door and espalliered.
Upstairs her staff of three has a fully functional kitchen-staff room and washroom. Soon there will be laundry facilities installed for night nurse, Rebecca Breau, receptionist, Carolyn Campbell, and nurse, Tara Hess. There are two spacious upper offices. Dr. Noland will use one. If another doctor joins her, there will be space available in the adjoining upstairs office.
In the interim, she jokes that she might offer high-speed internet access.
If seeing is believing, then jot down June 28 on your calendar. The spanking brand-new offices will be open form 1-4 p.m. to everyone - patients, contractors, friends, even the curious. Iris wants the world to see her new "ideal office".
Dr. Iris Noland checks out Jordon Campbell's ear.