Heartland College plans to expand

A new training ground for tomorrow TMs dentists is being planned to possibly expand into the heartland. A.T. Still University has announced plans to create a new School of Dentistry and Oral Health to the A.T. Still University Kirksville campus.

A.T. Still University President Jack Magruder told us that with the average age of dentists in America at age 55, many are expected to retire within the next decade. He says this is a great time to expand an already excellent program with a stellar reputation.

As of this weekend, now we TMre ready to go public. We want to see how much community support we have for this and we think there TMs tremendous support. But, now we TMre going public and we TMre going to see what we can do between now and about February TM11. We TMd like to sort of pull the trigger on this project February TM11 at the winter board meeting if we can get our act together and we hope we can, explained Magruder.

Magruder told KTVO that this could be an amazing opportunity to help bring more dentists to rural areas and create an economic boost to the local economy. His office has projected an annual financial impact of $98 million to the area.

Magruder is hoping to have this project finalized by February, but there are some hoops to jump through.

We TMre going to need some help. We TMre going to need some real help because we got to have a well-equipped building and that cost money. We can upfront the faculty and the costs in our own operation, but the facility is going to have to come through loans and gifts. It TMs our hope that the citizens of Kirksville will rally again to start something extremely worth while in this community in the name of healthcare and if they can and we can get our act together, this will happen.

Magruder told us that the new school is expected to open in the fall of 2013 if approved in February. Only 70 students are expected to be enrolled into the first class. Magruder says the tuition will cost around $50,000, which is comparable to similar programs.

There are some other cities that would be happy to house this program if the support doesn TMt materialize in Kirksville.

As a result of the reputation our dental school has in Mesa, we TMve been sought after to do this elsewhere. Orlando, Florida has an opportunity there for us and they TMre seeking us to come and start a dental school. Southern California in the San Diego area is really trying to get us to come and do something there. And so we TMre looking at some pretty good competition. Kirksville, Orlando, San Diego|and I TMm going to bet on Kirksville every time, Magruder said.