GREAT FALLS- The Great Falls College MSU Dental Clinic expansion project is expected to be completed by July, or sooner.
"They'll have adequate space for themselves and their patients and the faculty. They will also be learning in spaces that more closely resemble where they're going to be going to work," said Dr. Susan Wolff, CEO Dean of GFC-MSU.
The dental hygiene program operates as a teaching facility. The 11,000 ft. expansion gives more opportunities to students and instructors.
Students tell us, they are excited about the new facility.
"My whole class is super excited we just can't wait to get in there. Having so much more space is going to be huge in our learning environment and how we can interact with each other. Just feeling like we're in a less stressful environment, more space gives us that," said Hannah Johnson, a dental hygiene student at GFC-MSU.
"It's going to be really nice to have an additional building. It's going to be a lot easier for the dental hygiene and dental assisting students to just have a larger space and be able to work around and with each other in that space," said Cassy Lafromboise, a dental assisting student at GFC-MSU.
Dr. Wolff says a main reason for the expansion is to increase the number of students they can accept in the program - going from 16 students to 25.
"This is the only hygiene program in the state of Montana. So, there is a tremendous need and so we need to be able to put more graduates out," said Dr. Wolff.
Lafromboise and Johnson both tell me a highlight of the program is the teachers.
"The teachers, I think that honestly all of my teachers are really awesome. They are super smart, really funny, and all-around great people," said Lafromboise.
"The teachers cultivate an accepting learning environment... And I love the unity of all of our classmates. I feel like dental hygiene, to get into the program can be such a competitive field. But once you're in here, we've all banded together to be like this mega-group classroom where we're all supportive and we're all helping each other learn," said Johnson.
Johnson tells us it's not only students that are benefiting from the new building, it's also patients.
"For our clients themselves, we offer such a good deal on dental care that when they come into this new, remodeled, big, and brighter building it will reflect the services we offer," said Johnson.
GFC-MSU was awarded $4.25 million from the legislature in 2019 for the project.
"All of us have to have our teeth taken care of. The mouth is the beginning of all of your physical health. We want our community and our whole state to be healthy," said Dr. Wolff.
"I would love patients, I know any of us would. We can always use patients. We really do offer a full comprehensive golden package of care," said Johnson.
If you are looking for more information on the dental care they offer, click here.
They are also still looking for donations in furnishing the new building and there are also naming opportunities. For more information on that, click here.
To watch construction live, click here.