Dental School breaks ground on new era of clinical practice
Contact: Catherine Duncan
SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 26, 2012) — Leaders of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio broke ground Oct. 26 on the Center for Oral Health Care & Research. The $95 million Dental School facility will transform academic dentistry for decades to come in South Texas. The building will be located on Floyd Curl Drive in the South Texas Medical Center.
The center is expected to open in mid-2015 and is financed primarily by proceeds from the Permanent University Fund, a public endowment contributing to the support of eligible institutions of The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System. The Dental School will also make a significant investment in this building and anticipates a successful fundraising campaign that will be essential to bring the center to fruition.
Promoting health care, education, training, research
The Center for Oral Health Care & Research will serve as a modern venue for oral health care, education, training and research. The UT System Board of Regents in August approved a design of four stories covering 198,000 gross square feet, along with a parking garage of more than 400 spaces. The current Dental School building is almost 40 years old and will be repurposed as existing clinical activities are moved to the new facility.
Patient-centered dental home
The center will be patient-friendly by design. “Visitors will enjoy natural light in many areas and the building will be logically organized, with specialty clinics and a faculty practice clinic on the first and second floor, and student clinics on the third and fourth floors,” said William W. Dodge, D.D.S., dean ad interim of the Dental School. “Waiting areas will be conveniently located next to clinics. Patient-related activities, such as registration, will also be in close proximity to the clinics.”
A Dental School planning team visited several recently constructed oral health care centers nationwide, including those of the Dental School at the Medical University of South Carolina and the UT Houston Dental School. “We learned best practices from them,” Dr. Dodge said. One area of change will be increased space for specialty clinics and the geriatric dentistry clinic, which have become far more active, Dr. Dodge said.
One of the center’s clinics will house clinical research trials. This clinic will include equipment to store and protect specimens, secure areas for reviewing sensitive patient data, and treatment rooms that can accommodate a patient, a dentist and a research team. For years the Dental School has consistently ranked among the nation’s best based on its research publications.
Close connection to the MARC
Enclosed walkways will connect the Center for Oral Health Care & Research with the Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC), the flagship home of UT Medicine San Antonio. UT Medicine is the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center.
Dr. Dodge said the MARC, which opened in 2009, is a conceptual model for the new Center. “Both are multispecialty practices — the full scope of medicine and the full scope of dentistry available in one setting,” he said. “Our faculty members are excited about being connected to the MARC. As we move forward, we will find increasing opportunities to interact with our physician colleagues. They will be right there.”
Electronic patient records
In keeping with a brand-new, modern patient care facility, all patient information will be maintained in a seamless, paperless, electronic oral health record, said Gary F. Guest, D.D.S., interim associate dean for patient care.
Dr. Dodge summed up the impact: “When you have an opportunity like this new building, it causes you to take stock of where you are and where you want to be in the future. It has energized the faculty of the Dental School to think of better ways that we can provide care to our patients.”
The land for the new building was generously donated by the San Antonio Medical Foundation led by its president, Jim Reed.
Architects on the project are Marmon Mok and Kahler/Slater. The general contractor is J. T. Vaughn Construction LLC. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2013.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $231 million in fiscal year 2011. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 28,000 graduates. The $739.6 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.
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