The start of 2020 will usher in a new era in dental education for Texas A&M University’s College of Dentistry. The opening of its new 160,000-square-foot, nine-story Clinic and Education Building will enable the school to increase access to care for underserved patients and shift from a traditional discipline-based approach to a “whole health” educational model.
To celebrate the new facility, the college will hold a dedication ceremony on Thursday, January 23.
Featuring nearly 300 dental-chair stations with advanced technology, specialized clinics, clinical support areas, classrooms, and study spaces, the facility is the first standalone building constructed for the dental school since 1950. Long-needed parking specific to the dental school’s patients will be available on the first three levels of the structure.
“Patients and students are at the heart of what we do,” said Lawrence E. Wolinsky, PhD, DMD, dean of the school. “The new clinical building is truly going to help the college meet the ever-expanding need for reputable patient-centered care in a compassionate environment. Our students will gain a unique learning experience that will benefit them throughout their professional careers.”
Currently totaling about 100,000 per year, patient visits will increase by up to 40%. To address the shortage of dental healthcare providers in the state’s underserved areas, the school’s goal is to increase enrollment while maintaining its position as one of the nation’s most diverse dental schools.
Construction of the $127 million facility was completed at the end of 2019. Approximately $72 million of its estimated cost came from approval for bond authority that the A&M Health Science Center received from the Texas Legislature during the 2015 legislative session.
“This is an exciting time as we reach a new milestone in the history of the College of Dentistry,” Wolinsky said.