The Dose

Welcome to The Dose, which tackles the business and economics inside the turbulent world of health care and life sciences in Indiana. Your host is John Russell. To contact me call 317-472-5383.

IU School of Dentistry braces for expansion

July 15, 2016

It’s almost time for some drilling and filling at the Indiana University School of Dentistry. But this time, it’s about a building expansion, not tooth repair.

The dental school, located on the IUPUI campus, will break ground in September for a 45,000-square-foot addition, which will increase the school’s size by about one-third.

The two-year project is a major overhaul for the 136-year-old institution, the only dental school in Indiana. And it will present traffic, parking and getting-around issues for patients, faculty and students.

“We are dealing with aging infrastructure which impacts clinical operations most keenly,” IU dental school spokesman Terry L. Wilson Jr. said in an email.

The school educates more than 80 percent of the dentists in Indiana, and provides treatment to more than 30,000 patients a year.

“While our class size is fairly consistent, we need to be able to give our students and patients a contemporary clinical experience, including modern standards for privacy and infection control,” Wilson added. “We were at the end of the line for how far we could continue to retrofit modern care into a clinic built in 1933.”

The IU Board of Trustees approved the modern design last year. It calls for a three-story addition on the east side of the existing school. The addition will contain about 125 patient-treatment rooms and registration and waiting area.

Vendor bids are due back this week, with the bid openings to take place in coming days, according to a dental school newsletter.

Here’s how the project will affect the area:

— The new building will spring up on the east parking lot, now used by patients. On Aug. 1, the contractor will close and fence off that lot and set up a building-material storage site. Patient parking will be moved to west of the dental school. Adjunct faculty who previously parked in the east lot will park in Vermont Street garage or other employee surface lots. The loading dock parking spots will converted to handicapped parking.

— On Sept. 1, Michigan Street (north of the dental school) will be widened and redesigned for two-way traffic. It is currently one-way for westbound traffic only. The widening will take a portion of the land on the north side of the original dental school building. Beauty Avenue and Hanson Street will be closed permanently. The Michigan Street project is scheduled to run through December 2017.

— The project is set to be completed in 2018. The addition will create a courtyard by connecting to the three existing buildings. A suspended glass walkway will connect the new building with the upper floors of the existing buildings. The design calls for limestone on the exterior of the north side and a modern-glass façade on the east.

The project was designed by Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects and Ann Arbor, Michigan-based SmithGroupJJR.

In recent years, these firms also designed the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute and the Campus Center on the IUPUI campus.

Now get ready to watch your step and reach for a hard hat.


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