GREAT FALLS — Great Falls College-MSU hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday for its new expanded dental clinic, which will enable the school to train and graduate more dental hygienists and dental assistants.
The project added 12,000 square feet to the clinic and another 6,600 feet were remodeled, so students, faculty, and staff will be able to work in a more modern and comfortable space that will also give patients more privacy.
The expansion will allow the only dental hygiene program in the state to accept an additional seven students into the program each year so it will be able to take in 25 students instead of 18.
Faculty member Kim Dunlap, who is also a Great Falls College graduate, is overjoyed with this addition: “When I first started here as a student it was very small but we were happy to have it. We have outgrown the space and that’s why this addition is so nice.”
Student Hannah Johnson remembers what it was like to work as a student in the old facility: “Ten students getting into the space that five students fit into now, was much more close together. So the guidelines were to put plastic sheets up hanging from the ceiling to surround each operatory. It was crazy, I called it the 'haunted house' when I took clients past it because there were barriers everywhere.”
The 2019 Montana Legislature appropriated $4.25 million for the project, and Great Falls College used another $1.09 million of institutional funds to complete the addition.
The Great Falls Development Authority says that the program boasts a 97% retention and graduation rate, and 100% of graduates pass licensure exams, and that average wages for dental hygiene for 2019 were $77,770, or $37.79/hour.
The dental program offers services to the community for a reduced price: $25 for children, $30 for seniors and college students, and $35 for adults. If you're interested in making an appointment, call the dental program at 406-268-3726 or 406-771-4364.
April 23, 2019: