The class will now top out at 100 students and can seat up to 316 patients. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 22, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 22, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The new Georgia Health Sciences University Dental School is open for business. It took more than seven years and a $10 million investment from local taxpayers to bring the building to fruition.
"I'm feeling great," said dental patient Denise Covington. "They take good care of me. I'm a happy camper."
Covington is one of more than 300 patients who turn to students for care each day.
"Anywhere you can save a nickel is a very good thing," Covington said. "The care that I get at the school is actually better than the care that you get at the private dentist because it is all supervised."
Students are equally exhilarated about the hands-on experience.
"Oh yeah," said Shannon Thorsteinson, a fourth-year dental student. "Who wouldn't want to come here to work everyday?"
The building is a more than $100 million structure. It is the largest single investment in a building from the University System of Georgia.
"We could never have done this without the city giving us the $10 million to buy the land," said dental school Dean Dr. Connie Drisko.
The bricks from the demolished Gilbert Manor housing community have been recycled for the new building.
"Gilbert Manor still sort of lives on here," Drisko said. "The new street in front is called the John Wesley Gilbert Drive."
Drisko said the old building fit 54 students before the school upped it to 70.
The class will now top out at 100 students and can seat up to 316 patients.