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First phase of UB dental school renovation complete

The University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine has completed the first phase of a $25 million renovation of its pre-clinical simulation center and patient clinics.

This is the school’s first major renovation in more than 30 years with a goal of significantly upgrading Squire Hall on the South Campus as an educational and clinical treatment facility.

The new simulation center represents a “quantum leap from our previous laboratory,” according to Dr. Joseph Zambon, dean of the school. The facility includes 110 student work stations that feature simulators designed to mimic patient care and ease the transition to the school’s patient clinics.

The goal of the center is to help first- and second-year dental students develop. Computers at each student workstation will have the same electronic health record software used in UB’s dental clinics.

“Dentistry has entered the digital age, and our job as an educational institution is to prepare our students for practice five years from now and 20 years from now,” Zambon said in a statement.

The second phase of the remodel will add 30 more student stations to the pre-clinic, as well as a faculty conference room, student small group learning room and a facility for computer-aided design and manufacture. When complete in December, the pre-clinical simulation center will be twice the size of the previous facility, officials said.

In 2018, the school will begin construction of the Joseph and Stephanie Mucha Patient Welcome Center, funded by a $1 million donation from Stephanie Mucha, a retired nurse. The welcome center will serve as an information hub and first point of contact for new and existing patients. Also that year, the school will begin a $12 million renovation of its Squire Hall dental clinics.

The renovations are taking place on South Campus as the university's medical school prepares to move to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus later this year.

The old footprint of the medical school – including the Biomedical Research and Education buildings, and Cary and Farber halls – will be renovated for students and faculty from UB’s other health sciences schools, including the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Public Health and Health Professions. Sherman Hall will be demolished to make room for future construction.

The long-term plan is for South Campus to become home to many of UB’s graduate and professional education programs as part of an overall revitalization plan that continues the university's 2020 comprehensive master plan.

“It is very important to the university that the South Campus remains vibrant,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.  “We’ve made tremendous progress in restoring the beauty and vitality of the South Campus over the past five years, and we will continue to do so into the future.”

The first phase, to be completed by 2020 pending state funding approval, calls for the renovation of Parker Hall to become home to the UB School of Social Work. Additionally, Townsend Hall is slated to be renovated for UB administrative units.

The second phase calls for constructing a new building on the South Campus to house UB’s Graduate School of Education and a new Professional Education Center.

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