Foil Wyatt Architects & Planners, PLLC specializes in large institutional projects for hospitals and universities, including one $80-million building in excess of 1.5 million square feet. The firm has developed an expertise in buildings for veterinary schools having completed projects at 16 campuses, including the Large Animal Hospital at Texas A&M University, new Terry Companion Animal Center at North Carolina State University and Small Animal Hospital at the University of Florida, among others.
In the early 1970s, after working in New York City for several years, E. Bowden “Skip” Wyatt found himself working in Jackson for Barlow & Plunkett, Ltd., where he had the opportunity to be project architect on what was at the time the largest, most complex project he had ever worked: the new College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University (MSU). In 1977, this experience combined with an interest to pursue additional veterinary work led Wyatt to found a practice with his friend, fellow Auburn University graduate and architect Michael R. Foil. As Foil Wyatt Architects & Planners, they began working on hospitals and veterinary projects at colleges around the country.
“Veterinary medicine as we practice architecture for the design of the facility is the center of the ‘one medicine’ concept, in that we are providing medical and surgical care to companion and food animals, research into zoonodic diseases, and opening doors to bioengineering opportunities,” said Wyatt.
The firm has a number of notable projects underway. At the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the new Cancer and Biomedical Research Center consists of an eight-story, 200,000-square-foot facility featuring advanced research labs and incorporating the latest in imaging technologies. An expansion of the Neshoba County Hospital in Philadelphia is currently under construction. In Flowood, the firm has designed a new clinic for the Urology Associates of Mississippi, which is also underway.
“At Tuskegee University, Foil Wyatt is designing an entirely new Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, which will be able to provide services for large and small animals alike,” Wyatt said. “At Murray State University, the Breathitt Veterinary Center will house Kentucky’s new state veterinary diagnostic lab. The firm also has ongoing work in various stages of design for other veterinary-related projects on the campuses of Auburn University, Louisiana State University, and Purdue University, among others. In manufacturing design, the firm is currently assisting Howard Industries to grow their Mississippi-based manufacturing capacity with two new expansions. The firm has a number of other projects in support of Higher Education and civic betterment, including a recently designed second expansion to the Lauren Rodgers Museum of Art in Laurel.”
Nathan Boggan, AIA, a partner with Foil Wyatt Architects & Planners PLLC, said every building design project at Foil Wyatt begins with an evaluation of a project site and the owner’s current and future needs at the macro level, so that planning strategies for growth can be clearly understood before building designs, large or small, begin to take form.
“Because of this approach to building design, the master planning work by Foil Wyatt has helped make many landmark buildings and the public space around them possible, and has helped to insure successful long-term client relationships,” Boggan said. “The campus and college master planning work by the firm has made significant impacts at the various sites where they have been engaged. For example, the 20-year campus master plan for MSU, completed in 2002, more than any individual building project, has made a visible impact across the entire campus.”
“Skip, Mike and their team were pivotal in providing the planning expertise to raise the university to new levels and helped MSU distinguish itself among other universities in the Southeast,” said Dr. Charles Lee, retired president of MSU.
Boggan said master planning has also been a keynote of their work for other campuses, for manufacturers such as Howard Industries, and for hospitals such as Anderson Regional Medical Center.
Foil Wyatt has worked on a number of hospital and healthcare complexes throughout the state, including more than 50 projects completed at Anderson Regional Medical Center alone. Other healthcare clients include the Singing River Health System, South Central Regional Medical Center and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The firm, has a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professionals who are also architects, and increasingly clients, particularly in higher education, are making the commitment to pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification or better for their buildings. The largest of their designs currently pursuing LEED is the new Small Animal Teaching Hospital at Auburn University, which is currently under construction. The $74-million, 230,000-square-foot project is slated for LEED Silver.
Boggan said their primary experience in manufacturing design is in working with Howard Industries, where they have had relationship lasting more than 30 years. Over this time period, they have worked on manufacturing facilities for transformer production of all sizes, electrical substations, light fixture and ballast production, computer manufacturing — including mobile computers for use in healthcare — as well as other facilities for technical and software support for public utility clients around the country.
“In addition, we have experience in other types of manufacturing in locations around the U.S., including the manufacture of machine tools, food processing, and vehicular research and design facilities,” Boggan said. “This type of design work aligns well with our long-range master planning work, and clients appreciate when we are able to anticipate the need for future expansions.”
The past five years have been tough on the building industry, including architects. Foil Wyatt was fortunate that when the downturn began, they had a backlog of projects, and of those, most have moved forward without delay or modification due to budgetary pressure.
“Most of our institutional clients maintain a list of project priorities, and have partnered with us to strategize how to move projects forward, despite the protracted uncertainties in the economy,” he said. “Our loyal clients have continued to support us throughout, and fortunately our specialization in certain project types has helped us gain new clients in regions of the country and in market sectors that show economic strength. We anticipate a brighter future on the horizon, as clients will continue to need architects to design new and renovate existing facilities.”
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