The major renovation and expansion at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, with construction beginning in fall 2018, updates and expands the school’s state-of-the-art facilities for teaching dental students, serving patients from around Michigan and conducting world-class research that advances the dental profession.
In June, the Tooth Fairy sculpture was returned to the school and placed in the new West Courtyard. The iconic sculpture, created by artist (and U-M alumni) Bill Barrett, was originally the centerpiece of the school's former large courtyard. It was removed in July 2019 for the renovation which took more than 18 months to complete. Now back on site, the sculpture is part of a new open space at the school.
The Midway Dental Advanced Clinical Education Center opened in January and provides a new pre-clinic space for students.
The school opened the courtyard addition, which is the first addition of new space at the school in more than 50 years. Occupying more than half the former courtyard area of the school, the 48,000-square-foot addition includes research labs, student meeting spaces, conference rooms, offices and a new entrance from North University Avenue.
New clinic areas have also opened, including another new pre-doctoral education clinic, the Victors East (Maize) clinic, in the northeast corner of the first floor of the clinic building. In April, the new Restorative Dentistry Clinic opened on the second floor, and in May the new Endodontics Clinic opened on the third floor. With these openings, the Blue Renew project is now past its midway point.
The first phase of the clinic renovations was completed. The former Green clinics have been completely updated and now house the Periodontics Clinic, the Delta Dental Integrated Special Care Clinic, the Bien Air Patient Admitting and Emergency Services Clinic, and the first Victors Predoctoral Clinic (Maize West).
The courtyard addition is now completely enclosed and interior work has commenced. This new, 48,000-square-foot addition to the school provides new space for research labs, student meeting spaces, conference rooms and offices.
In late December, the new Faculty Commons opened. This area, formerly the school’s library and then later student study space, has been renovated as offices and a faculty collaboration area.
The school’s new North Entrance was opened in January. Patients and visitors can now enter and access the Dental Building via the new entrance from the Plaza Level of the Fletcher Street Parking Structure. Guest Services staff at the entrance assist patients and visitors with wayfinding and now with health screening checks.
The structural portion of the courtyard addition was completed in March. The school celebrated with a beam-signing party. Many members of the school community joining Granger, the construction management team, for coffee and cookies while they signed a steel beam that will be a permanent part of the courtyard addition. The beam was installed a few days later.
Even with a work stoppage delay due to the pandemic in April and May, the project is expected to be completed in mid-2022.
The concrete central courtyard became a dirt courtyard as workers broke up and hauled away extensive amounts of concrete. The foundation of the new addition is being put in place this fall. The “Tooth Fairy” sculpture was removed and placed in storage, awaiting its placement in a new open space along the west side of the new courtyard addition.
Work continues on the school’s north entrance, where patients enter from the Fletcher Parking Structure. It will have a covered drive-up unloading area.
Construction at the north entrance that will include a new clinic entrance and main reception area for the school. The build-out area was covered by a temporary roof to createthe construction zone that will create new space on three floors.
Construction of a new student reading room on the third floor.
Renovation and improvements on the basement level, including new, central sterilization facility, power distribution center and upgraded ventilation systems.
Highlights from the Ground Breaking Ceremony
This renovation and expansion allows the school to incorporate the latest developments in patient care, dental education and research into the existing facility, which was designed during two eras – the 1930s and 1960s – when technology and priorities were much different than they are today. The plan, given final approval by the U-M Board of Regents on March 29, 2018, renovates about half of the existing building and adds 48,000 square feet.
A new main entrance and redesigned registration area will flow directly to predoctoral dental clinics, which will all be on one floor for a more streamlined and efficient entry to the school and appointments. Patients utilizing specialty clinics elsewhere in the building will find improved wayfinding signage, pathways and elevators that allow them to more easily navigate to their appointments. Larger, improved dental operatories and the latest technological improvements in dental equipment will allow students and faculty to maintain the innovative treatment that has long marked U-M as one of the top-ranked dental schools in the world. The latest advances in electronic health records, developed for the School of Dentistry, will aid in more efficient care for patients. A new clinic for patients with special needs will provide specialized equipment and practices to serve patients with a wide variety of physical and mental limitations, such as developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, blindness or hearing loss, complex medical problems, stress disorders related to military service or vulnerable conditions unique to the elderly.
The north entrance, nearest the Fletcher Parking Structure, is being redesigned with a covered, drive-through access. Patients and others will still be able to use the building’s south entrance, along North University Avenue, but it will be significantly modified. Pedestrians will no longer walk under the overhanging Student Commons study area to reach the courtyard and existing south entry doors. Instead, a ground-level addition will be closed in under the Commons to create seminar and common space. A new south entrance will direct patients toward the registration area and clinics on the north side of the building.
Many of the benefits for patients are also benefits for students and faculty, particularly the larger dental operatories that will allow more access for the practice of modern dentistry and to accommodate the team of specialists who provide individualized interprofessional care. Centralized equipment dispensaries and sterilization services will help students provide more efficient patient care, as will the revised design of the clinic areas. Technology improvements will include operatories with video capability for creating instructional videos.
Research needs, equipment and the collaborative process of scientists have changed significantly in the five decades since the existing research tower was built. A three-story addition, with two floors dedicated to research, will rise out of the current courtyard to provide a new benchmark for scientific research facilities. An open, adaptable floor-plan for lab space will allow researchers to better collaborate. Graduate students, research assistants and faculty will have more common areas – from their lab benches to write-up spaces to break areas – where they can easily meet to discuss existing projects and inspire new ideas.
Major upgrades of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation needs of the school are part of the project.
Construction will be coordinated in several major phases to allow the school to continue its educational, clinical and research mission during the renovation, with completion expected sometime in early 2022.
We welcome your involvement with the renovation and expansion project. We have developed programs for corporate sponsorship and donor and alumni recognition. Please email us for details at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Dentistry Building 1875-1877
Dentistry Building, 1877-1891
Dentistry Building, 1891-1908
North University Building, 1908-1969
Kellogg Building added, 1940-present
Current North University Building, 1969-present