Georgia’s only dental school boasts one of the most impressive clinical buildings in the country, having moved into its 269,000 square foot “green” building in September 2011. The facility was Silver LEED-certified in late 2012, a year after its completion, demonstrating Augusta University’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. The building won engineering and construction management awards for best project.
The $112 million facility houses most of the DCG’s faculty and staff. With 316 dental chairs, the building is one of the largest clinical facilities in the nation. Its advanced simulation and practice labs can accommodate 100 students at a time. Once it opens, its ambulatory surgical center with two Class-C operating rooms and a recovery unit will make the college one of the few in the nation with an outpatient surgical center. Amenities include a “kid-friendly” pediatrics area, state-of-the-art equipment and ample patient parking.
Our students benefit from a wide array of technologies to prepare for their future career in dental medicine. Highlights include: 316 patient care operatories with electronic health records and digital radiography available in each one; an ambulatory care center with two minor Class-C operating rooms; 83 intra-oral radiograph units; six Panoramic x-ray units including five with 3-D image capability; and, 10 separate support laboratories with 100 work stations.
On the 3rd floor of the facility, the Thomas P. Hinman Simulation Lab is one of the best in the nation. It is used to train students in pre-clinical technique predominantly during the first two years of the pre-doctoral curriculum. Work stations double as patient simulators with manikin heads for simulated treatment and as dental lab stations for performing the laboratory procedures associated with patient care. Each work station features two monitors: one for projecting multi-media instructional materials and the second that is linked to our college network so students can practice using our electronic dental records system. The Sim Lab has also been used as a venue for hands-on Continuing Education course to provide participants with the ability to practice the new techniques they are learning in the lecture portion of the course. The simulation lab was made possible by a generous gift by the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Society of Atlanta.
When decorating the new building, then-Dean Connie Drisko wanted the new facility to demonstrate the strength of the connection between dentistry and the world of art. On the walls of the five-story building hang more than 175 individual works of art. Throughout the hallways and waiting rooms are displayed painted, blown, sculpted, carved, woven, photographed and welded pieces of art, all generously donated to the DCG. When entering the front door, patients and visitors come into the soaring three-story lobby, the Fisher Atrium, named in honor of benefactor Dr. Emile T. Fisher, who provided the College’s very first scholarship in 1968. An exquisite mosaic chandelier hanging overhead captures the attention of visitors. It was created by internationally-known Augusta artist Paul Pearman.
In January 2015, dental students began holding class in the new J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons, located adjacent to the DCG. The building features a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory, two large flexible classrooms dedicated to dentistry, a café, a student lounge and a variety of study environments to accommodate up to 300 students.
As the state’s only dental school, the Augusta University Dental College of Georgia has an addition to its list of accomplishments: an art gallery.
“To the best of our knowledge, ours is the only dental school nationwide to house a large art gallery,” said former Dean Connie Drisko.
More than 175 pieces of art, including paintings, photography, wood work, blown glass and metal sculptures, line the walls of the dental building’s gallery, named Transcendental: Works of Impression. The art was donated by alumni and dentists across the state.
“The seed was planted in my mind about 10 years ago when I visited Eastman Dental Clinic’s new dental building in London,” Drisko said. “They had been told they must set aside a percentage of the cost of the building to spend on art.”
The college collected art over a period of approximately 18 months and has received some museum quality pieces, as well as limited editions, artist prints and autographed copies.
“We were particularly interested in dentists who were artists giving us an example of their work. We have two dozen or more pieces where the dentists were actually the artists, some of whom have given up dentistry and are doing their art now,” Drisko said. “That’s not too surprising, because dentistry is very much an art and a science. It’s about color, shape, aesthetics and dexterity. So people who have that eye often also have artistic ability, either in visual arts or performing arts.”
Two pieces of art in the building have won juried competitions, including a 26-foot chandelier by Augusta artist Paul Pearman, and an eight-foot wooden carving of a ship by Dr. Travis Smith, Augusta University Assistant Professor of General Dentistry.
Alumni and others are invited to visit the gallery at 1430 John Wesley Gilbert Drive, Augusta, Ga. 30912. For more information, contact the Dean’s Office at 706-721-2117.