The Texas A&M College of Dentistry plans to construct a new education facility and clinic in Dallas to provide oral health care and facilitate dental education in the state of Texas.
The School of Dentistry exists to serve all members of the Dallas community and the new clinic will help to facilitate this service, said Dr. Stephen Griffin, assistant dean of clinical affairs at the Texas A&M School of Dentistry in Dallas and project head for the new dentistry facility.
“We currently serve a pretty great number of underserved patients in the area, but we also treat people who are not underserved,” Griffin said. “It’s not just to increase the amount of dentistry to an underserved population, it’s also to create a dental home of all socioeconomic backgrounds.”
The new facility will promote an environment where dental students will have the chance to work in a real world setting outside of the classroom, according to Griffin.
“It’s kind of less of a dental school environment and more of a private practice environment,” Griffin said.
The construction project will cost around $127.5 million to complete and will include nine floors of public parking and clinic space adjacent to the dental school in downtown Dallas.
The money for the project comes in large part from $72 million in bond money given to the Health Science Center during the 2015 Congressional session. Additional funding came from the university and from donors.
Craig Reynolds’s company, Brown Reynolds Watford Architecture, is the executive architecture firm on the construction job for the new facility. Reynolds said he is excited to be a part of the legacy of the School of Dentistry in his position on the job.
“The whole process, with a team of probably 20 people, we work with representatives from the College of Dentistry to achieve the type of project, the type of building that’s going to function with them as well as represent them for the next hundred years,” Reynolds said.
The role of the architects in the construction of the facility is to create an atmosphere of credibility and professionalism, and to put a face on Texas A&M in the city of Dallas, Reynolds said.
“Part of it is to make sure that this building, not just the ambience inside the building, but the aesthetic of the outside of the building, is one that it takes on the credibility, the stature of the university in Dallas,” Reynolds said.
The project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2019, according to Reynolds.
While the facility is expensive, the growth of the Texas oral health community will be immense once the School of Dentistry students graduate, as the vast majority of graduates from the school stay in Texas to practice, Griffin said.
“Ninety percent of the students we accept are Texas residents, and because of that a huge number of them — I think it’s over ninety percent — actually stay in the state of Texas,” Griffin said. “Forty or fifty percent stay in the Dallas metro area.”
Reynolds said the School of Dentistry has a vital role in the health and welfare in Dallas, especially for underserved communities.
“Students literally have clientele that come in for them to provide dental services, and it’s an incredible outreach for the city of Dallas to have an organization which provides that to folks who perhaps can’t afford normal dental insurance, normal dental care,” Reynolds said.