March 9, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The only dental school in the state of Georgia is looking to expand.
The MCG School of Dentistry wants a new 290,000 foot facility to add more students and keep up with new technology.
It's going to cost $108 million dollars. Of that, the school is trying to raise $30 million. They're asking Governor Sonny Perdue for the other $78 million.
Governor Perdue tells News 12 he thinks the chances are good, but he says the timing depends on the Legislature.
If the money comes through, the new building on 15th Street could mean millions of extra dollars circulating in our local economy. But getting there starts with the students.
Third year Dental School student Laneshia Camp says working one-on-one with patients is a great way to learn.
"It helps us increase our proficiency for when we get out of school as we become practicing dentists," she said.
The new school could mean more practicing dentists for our area. MCG hopes to double the number of residents, add staff, and increase enrollment, up to ten more students per class.
"Our population continues to increase, and we're the only dental school in the state," Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said. "The state needs this just as much, if not more, than Augusta does."
That's because most graduates stay in-state. Here's what that means for the economy: each practice brings in an average of $1.2 million every year. That means more money in circulation as more people graduate.
But graduating more people means more space. That's where the new building comes in: larger classrooms, larger workspaces, and brand-new, cutting-edge technology. Dr. Robert gary holmes...
"For them to use it in dental school makes it that much easier for when they go into practice," associate professor Dr. Robert G. Holmes told News 12. "Dental school would allow us to have more access to more patients."
"The new building will help us work with patients so we learn more, and provide a service to the community," he added.
MCG says for every one student they accept, they turn four away, and the number of applications is growing.
The final state budget numbers are expected out in May.