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Major Renovations Start on Future SoMa Campus Structure

Scaffolding, fencing and construction crews in hard hats are the newest sights to see in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) district as major renovations commence at 155 Fifth Street—the future home of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

The renovation of the seven-story, 395,000-square-foot structure takes a major step forward this fall as construction crews prepare for the removal and replacement of the exterior façade. The interior spaces have already been started, stripped down to their structural core in preparation for interior renovations in coming months.

Five floors of the building will eventually house the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. The new campus will contain flexible learning environments, research and seminar spaces, a state-of-the-art dental simulation lab and communal areas to support the dental school family. It will also feature remodeled clinical spaces to support the small-group practice model currently being implemented. Students will experience clinics that more closely resemble private practice, and patients will benefit from enhanced privacy, among other benefits.

The new campus will be located in a prime urban location, offering many neighborhood amenities and close proximity to parking and public transportation options for students, faculty, staff and patients. The building will also feature additional space for University of the Pacific to use in planning future programs or events outside of the scope of dentistry.

“We reached a significant milestone on the final designs and floor plan details required to move forward on major renovations,” said Dean Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr. “I would like to congratulate the entire Facility Planning Committee and the numerous people involved on sub-groups who have worked hard and given input into the project, one of the largest facilities projects ever undertaken by the University. These are historic moments for the entire Pacific family.”

Construction Begins

Upcoming construction activities from September 2012 through January 2013 will include barricade set up, demolition of exterior precast panels and exterior glazing. The exterior “skin” system installation is scheduled to take place from January to June 2013. During this phase, the public will get a better view of the glass used to create the look of the new campus.

Interior construction will span 2013, starting with the building’s basement level. Other ancillary building and structural work will take place from August 2012 through June 2013.

The vacant 155 Fifth Street building was originally constructed in 1973 by Continental Development Corporation on behalf of Crocker National Bank. It was designed for 24-hour data and client service operations, and was one of the most technologically advanced, large-floor-plate office buildings in San Francisco at the time. The structure’s very large and open floor plans are particularly suitable for the needs of the dental school’s clinics and educational programs.

The University’s Facilities Planning Committee is working closely with numerous partners on this project, including project management firm Nova Partners, general contractor Plant Construction and lead architect SmithGroupJJR.

The structure, which meets current seismic codes, is being built to LEED Gold standards through the use of environmentally efficient design features. In selecting an existing building to renovate, the University is saving a significant amount in construction costs compared to those of building a new structure in a comparable downtown location, according to SmithGroupJJR estimates.

Equipment, Technology and Transition Planning

Meanwhile, the school is deciding what equipment will fill the building’s classrooms, clinics and labs. A Dental Equipment Purchasing Group has been evaluating dental equipment and technology partners for the future campus.

The school has been working with leading dental equipment companies to gather bids for simulation laboratory technology, dental operatories chairs and ancillary equipment. Other educational technology systems and products, such as interactive white boards, were also reviewed by faculty, students and others involved in academic affairs.

“We’re looking for equipment and technology partners who can join us in our vision for where dentistry is going, not just where it stands today,” said Dr. Parag Kachalia, chair of the Dental Equipment Purchasing Group and vice-chair of Preclinical Education, Research and Technology in the school’s Department of Integrated Reconstructive Dental Sciences. “We brought our school’s innovative approach to the table and are receiving some exciting custom solutions for dental simulation laboratories, clinical operatories and other equipment.”

Additionally, a cross-departmental Transition Team at the school is helping to make plans and preparations for the school to move its operations to the new campus in 2014. For example, the Transition Team is reviewing business processes, archival storage and electronic scanning resources to support the digital archiving of paper files. School departments are being encouraged to determine what materials can be archived, recycled or discarded.

2155 Webster Street Goes on the Market

In tandem with the renovations on the future campus, the University has put its current dental school building at 2155 Webster Street up for sale. The University is working with real estate firm Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank.

Following the eventual sale of the 2155 Webster Street building, the dental school expects to continue to operate its programs and clinics at its current location through the summer of 2014 through a lease-back or similar arrangement with a buyer.

Earlier in the year, the school sold its 67-unit apartment building located at 2130 Post Street to the Prado Group, a San Francisco-based real estate development company.

Excitement Building

The plans for a move to a new campus foster excitement and curiosity within the dental school family. Some of those who have worked or taught at the dental school for many years acknowledge feelings of enthusiasm about the change ahead, while others express feelings of apprehension about leaving the school home they’ve known for years. But as construction moves forward, anticipation is building among students, faculty, staff and alumni who are involved in the project. Seeing the renovations take place gives them a glimpse into the exciting, state-of-the-art campus to come.

“I think that the most exciting aspect of the new campus is being in a new location that is more easily accessible to our patients,” said Katie Wong, Class of 2013, and a student representative on the school’s Transition Team. “The fact that we are going to be in an area that is so close to public transportation will provide more convenience for our patients,  students, faculty and staff.”

“Technology has created many advancements in the dental field, and as future dentists, our education needs to not only keep up with the changes, but also stay ahead,” added Poppy Montana-Marie Carlig, Class of 2014. “The Pacific upgrade will keep our institution at the forefront.”

In addition to the many clinical upgrades and flexible new learning environments planned for the new campus, the opportunity for new research spaces is also garnering excitement among people in the Pacific research community.

“Research is a group effort and thrives in a collaborative culture,” said Dr. Ove Peters, co-chair of the Department of Endodontics and director of endodontic research. “The new campus will facilitate that collaboration and further a sense of community among Pacific’s researchers. By modernizing our infrastructure and technology, we will produce even more relevant and essential research.”