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      ATSU parking lot vanishes, dental school to appear

      Construction crews are literally clearing the way for kirksville's new dental school.

      They recently brought in heavy equipment and started tearing up a large section of the parking lot just east of the Connell Information Technologies Center on the A.T. Still University campus.

      It is the site where the university's new dental school will be built in the coming weeks.

      On Tuesday, crews were hauling away chunks of pavement in dump trucks to make way for the foundation to be poured.

      Michael McManis, ATSU vice president for planning, assessment and institutional effectiveness, said that will be quite a project, and the foundation work should get underway sometime next week.

      "That will require puttingâ?|piers in the ground,â?? McManis said. â??They will actually drill into the ground and then put compacted rock so that the building will be on a very stable foundation, and that'll take several weeks for that to happen."

      The building itself is expected to cost between $15 million and $16 million.

      The two-story, 61,000-square-foot dental school will also have several million dollars worth of state-of-the-art technology.

      McManis said it will likely be a few months before we see the building itself taking shape.

      "We're talking about hanging steel in the early fall,â?? McManis said. â??We want the building enclosed by November so we can work all winter."

      Construction is set to be completed by April 30, 2013.

      The first 40 students are set to start classes in the fall of 2013.