ATSU board approves Missouri dental school, construction of facility
At their Founder’s Day meeting in Kirksville, the ATSU Board of Trustees approved a $26-million bond issue for constructing and equipping a new building on ATSU’s Missouri campus to establish the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health. This positive decision by the board is a critical step toward matriculating 40 students in the fall of 2013. The 61,000-square-foot facility, on two floors, will be an interprofessional education and dentistry school building to house not only the dental school, but also space for medical students from ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
In addition to approving the bond issue for construction and equipment, the board also endorsed a change from a dental program (distant-site branch campus) under ATSU’s highly successful Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) to a stand-alone school of dentistry and oral health. This new approach will allow the Kirksville school more flexibility and enhance the process of accreditation by CODA, the national Council on Dental Accreditation.
Former Board Chair Carl G. Bynum, D.O., M.P.H., ’75, presided over the meeting and called the decision “a major move forward in establishing a new ATSU dental school in Missouri that will have lasting benefits for the citizens of Kirksville and for the underserved population of the state.”
Added ATSU President Jack Magruder, “I am grateful to the board for their guidance and encouragement during the many months of developing the dental school and am extremely proud of what we have accomplished and will accomplish in the future. A dental school based in Kirksville will have a tremendous, positive impact on the city and state and will graduate highly competent and caring professionals who will carry out our mission and vision to serve the underserved.”
Construction on the Interprofessional Education & Dentistry School Building is expected to begin in spring 2012 and will be located on ATSU property facing Jefferson Street, east of existing University buildings. The design and plans for the building have been developed by Cannon Design, an architectural firm based in St. Louis.
The next step for the Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health is accreditation from CODA. No students can be recruited or admitted until accreditation is achieved. ATSU-ASDOH Dean Jack Dillenberg, D.D.S., has “a high level of confidence that accreditation will occur in a timely fashion.” In addition, ATSU will continue to work on establishing partnerships with community health centers for the clinical training of its dental students.