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Facility improvement plans continue with urgent care clinic updates

Summer plans include continued renovations

The transformation of critical WVU Dental patient care and reception areas is forging ahead on schedule. The three-phase, $1.5 million West Virginia University School of Dentistry renovation project advances education and clinic space for Diagnostic Sciences, Urgent Care and Dental Imaging and a patient reception and waiting area.

Graphic rendering of patient registration area

“It is encouraging to see floor plans evolve into actual structural development. We’ve been waiting for this particular renovation for a long time. It takes an obvious investment in funds for such an extensive project,” said Phil Sperry, chief business planning officer for the school. “But it also takes cooperation from entities including Health Sciences Center (HSC) administration, HSC facilities, along with flexibility from the contractor, Manheim. The collaboration and support have been extraordinary throughout the entire process.”

Plans show changes for phase 1 of renovations

The first phase was completed in February, and members of the Diagnostic Sciences department moved into their new office space in March. It places oral medicine, oral and maxillofacial pathology and forensic odontology experts in close proximity to the student clinic, Urgent Care clinic, Endodontics clinic and an Oral Medicine treatment area.

Team members across departments were displaced but continued to set up and manage a temporary home for the Urgent Care clinic. Daily renovation work began overnight after the clinics’ closures and ended prior to the clinics’ reopening each day.

“To observe our students, faculty and staff remain focused on patients as this remarkable refurbishing is underway is incredible. They see progress. Their patients see improvement,” said Dr. Foti Panagakos, interim dean of the dental school. “There is such a positive energy among our entire team.”

In early June, one of the most frequently visited dental offices will be modernized. The area, which houses some of the clinic’s most advanced imaging technology, is located in the Urgent Care Clinic.

The final phase of this plan upgrades the most forward-facing area of the school and clinics – the patient reception and waiting area. Once completed, this area will feature an enhanced and expanded reception function, large area for patient seating and physical doorways that help better identify the space within the Health Sciences Center. Renovation of the entire space is expected by August 2021. Plans are underway for a fall celebration and official ribbon-cutting.

“Investments in our multiphase facilities renovation project ensure patients are treated and students are trained in facilities that reflect the excellent quality of care patients receive,” said Karen Coombs, School of Dentistry director of development. “We are fortunate this work can progress through both administrative and philanthropic support.”

In March, the School of Dentistry Alumni Association pledged $125,000 toward the reception area renovation. That prompted matching commitments from alumni board members Dr. Mike George and Dr. Loring Ross. In recognition of these generous gifts, the lobby and waiting area will be named for the Alumni Association.

Photos and floor plans from throughout the project are compiled for easy access online through our smugmug account.

As design plans continue to evolve, other areas of the dental school and clinics could see improvements, including Dental Hygiene, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Periodontics and Prosthodontics. Changes may include services currently provided at Suncrest Towne Centre including Faculty Practice, Orthodontics and the Dr. W. Robert Biddington Center for Dental Innovation.