TNCC pushes for 2010 startup date for dental hygiene program


Published: January 9, 2009

The Daily Press

Thomas Nelson Community College officials continue to fast track their planned dental hygiene program toward starting in August of 2010. “We’re in the process of hiring a director now,” said Richard Fleming, TNCC vice president for academic affairs.

Tentative plans called for the director to be hired by November and for that person to start working in March. But the search had to be reopened. “The committee has been formed, and will start getting together to review applications,” Fleming said. “We hope to have somebody on by February, but more likely it will be March.

“We wanted to try to do it (sooner). But we had a very limited pool of applicants and it was felt that maybe we should extend our net some and try again.” Once the director is in place, the next two steps will be applying for approval from the Virginia Community College System to add the program and applying for initial accreditation through the American Dental Association.

Full accreditation is usually granted by the ADA after the first class of dental hygiene students graduates, according to Fleming. He added that approval by the VCCS, which requires a market analysis, should not be an issue because the program has been discussed as a possibility for years. The site for the program’s facilities was reconsidered late last year. Planned for the Hampton III building on the Hampton campus as late as October, it will be the new Historic Triangle building in James City County instead.

“It offers lots of opportunities,” Fleming said. “The Historic Triangle campus will offer a whole different area and it will draw, too, from a broader market than we could have down here. It starts building the allied health programs that we want to add on there at that campus.”

TNCC interim president Alvin Schexnider got reconsideration from officials at the VCCS for putting the new facility there. Another consideration was that renovation of Hampton III isn’t expected to be completed until 2011, which would have delayed the start of dental hygiene training.

So financing was worked out to house it in 5,000 square feet on the second floor of the new building in the Historic Triangle.

“It’s been a collaborative fast track effort in order to move it to where we are now,” said Charles Nurnberger, TNCC’s vice president for finance and administration.

The $2.4 million in bond funding from the legislature for the program will be used strictly to purchase equipment, according to Fleming. Eleven dental chairs, X-ray equipment and additional amenities will easily require that much, he said.

“We’re in the process now of planning the facility,” Fleming said. “We’re working with a company to design the lab. We’ve got a final design of the lab. “It’s going to be a state of the art facility, unlike any in any other community college right now. We’ll be able to teach them all the latest technologies.”



Category: General News Tags: , , , , ,
Print Page