“The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis could be getting a significant chunk of the state’s proposed budget for a new dentistry facility.
In Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address Feb. 1, he mentioned a new addition to UTHSC’s campus.
“The UT Health Science Center in Memphis will finally address some pressing needs with a new dentistry building,” he said.
Dr. Kennard Brown, UTHSC executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer, said if the state funding is approved, the university is planning to build a new 60,000 to 80,000 square foot building as an expansion to the existing UTHSC College of Dentistry at 875 Union Avenue.
UTHSC College of Dentistry Dean Tim Hottel said the dentistry program has outgrown its current facility.
Being landlocked by McDonald’s on the east and the Scottish Rite Temple on the west, Brown said the new building will be located directly south of the existing building with a connector between the two facilities.
The proposed plan calls for a four story building with a basement that will potentially hold the college’s administrative offices, classrooms and labs.
Another component will be a ground floor special needs clinic for both pediatrics and adults, where students and residents will provide services ranging from annual care to complicated oral surgery, Hottel said.
UTHSC has spent about $8 million in demolition, prepping for expansion behind the College of Dentistry and the lots it owns behind the Scottish Rite Temple.
The university made the Scottish Rite an offer to buy the property several years ago, Brown said, but the organization was not prepared to entertain an offer at that time. Ideally, Brown said, the university would like to have frontage on Union.
The state’s proposed budget allocates $350 million for new higher education buildings across the state, and the governor’s office says $39 million is allocated for UTHSC’s new dentistry building.
MBJ: Haslam: UTHSC building new dentistry facility