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University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
 

Growing to Serve

School of Dental Medicine Completes Expansion Project


Future Design for School of Dental Medicine Building
Future Design for School of Dental Medicine Building
On Friday, May 4, 2012, the CU School of Dental Medicine recognized a significant milestone in the CU School of Dental Medicine’s growth with the dedication of new clinical spaces that allows the school to increase access to education for more students and serve more patients.
 
The school recently “popped the top” of the dental school to accommodate the new clinical floor.  The construction was completed on time and under budget. 
 
Provost Rod Nairn, on hand to cut the ribbon into the new space, commented, “Not a single day of clinical education was lost during the expansion of the clinic environment.”  This was no easy feat given that 4 existing clinics operated at full-steam during the construction.
 
Dean Denise Kassebaum said, “The School of Dental Medicine is “Growing to Serve” at a time when too many children go to school in dental pain and can’t learn, adults who are searching for work struggle because of visible unmet dental needs, and  elderly fail to meet basic nutritional needs because of poor oral health.”
 
The clinical expansion includes 66 new dental operatories, student learning spaces and offices on two different floors.  This expansion was possible because of the building’s strong foundation when it was constructed six years ago.  The subsequent programmatic expansion that will lead to more dental care providers to serve patients of all ages is build on an equally strong foundation of donors, distinguished alumni, and dedicated faculty and staff.   
 
Currently, the school’s clinics see 65,000 patient visits each year, twice as many annual patient visits as seen by National Jewish Health.  With the clinical expansion, the school will increase its clinical visits by approximately 30%. 
 
With the construction of the new clinical spaces, the dental school served as an economic generator.  The School of Dental Medicine was able to stretch the construction budget of $10.8 million for the 4th floor and complete the enclosure of the 3rd floor balcony all within the original project budget costs.  This provided an additional 24 operatories (dental chairs) bringing the entire new clinical space to 66 additional operatories. 
 
Dental education requires adequate clinical teaching space.  This expansion of the clinical space was an academic necessity.  Following a national trend of dental schools to increase their class size to keep up with the oral health needs of the country, the School expanded its class size.  This increase required the school to develop an appropriate number of clinical spaces for clinical education. The School of Dental Medicine is a regional dental education provider.  CU’s dental program accepts the largest number of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) than any other dental school.  Students from Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming attend dental school at CU and return to their states to practice their profession.
 
The two new clinical spaces will house two different clinics; the CU Dental Care Team Clinics on the 4th floor to serve additional adult patients and the CU Futures Clinic on the 3rd floor which will house a CAD/CAM high technology restorative clinic, and an adolescent care clinic where interprofessional education can take place.