Palm Beach State College held a groundbreaking ceremony May 16 for its high-tech $50 million Dental & Medical Services Technology Building on its Loxahatchee Groves campus.
Construction will begin next month on the four-story, 83,500-square-foot building, which will be part of the Frank DiMino Center for Medical Innovation and include a fully equipped dental clinic, a surgical technology suite, and science labs that incorporate cutting-edge equipment and technology for students pursuing careers as dental hygienists, dental assistants, surgical technologists and other health care occupations. The building is set to be completed by February 2025 and classes will begin that fall.
The signature event—held during PBSC’s 90th anniversary year— was attended by more than 150 guests attended, including PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D.; former PBSC President Dr. Dennis P. Gallon; PBSC District Board of Trustees Chair Carolyn Williams, along with other DBOT members; Chair of the Foundation for PBSC Ricky Wade; Dean of Academic Affairs for the Loxahatchee Groves campus Kimberly Lancaster; Mayor of Loxahatchee Groves Laura Danowski; Vice Mayor of Loxahatchee Groves Robert Shorr and other Loxahatchee Groves council members; City of Westlake Mayor JohnPaul O’Connor; Village of Wellington Mayor Ann Gerwig; Village of Wellington Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone; PBC Commissioner Sara Baxter; Rep. Matt Willhite; Senior Vice President of Kaufman Lynn Construction Garret Southern; and other governmental, dental, engineering and construction partner representatives.
The building will be the new location of PBSC’s dental program that currently is housed in a 60- year-old structure on the Lake Worth campus.
It will provide modern dental labs and a fully-functional clinic where students will train as well as provide low-cost preventive dental care to the community, including cleanings, dental screenings, and dental health workshops. The new clinic will also provide a venue for advanced training for licensed dentists and hygienists.
“This day has been long awaited,” said Lancaster, who introduced Parker and Gallon to the crowd and said that this would not have been possible without their visions and guidance.
“It’s the foundation of our dental program that brought us here today,” Parker said. “That was a program we wanted to expand and modernize and make available to more members of our community. In addition, we could almost do everything at this campus, but we didn’t have any wet labs so what’s special about this building is that it will allow any of our students to choose Lox Groves as their home campus to earn their full AA degree.”
Williams then spoke about the history of the campus which began with 700 students in 2017 to 6,000 today, and what an important resource it has been for the central-western communities.
“From the beginning, the Loxahatchee Groves campus has specialized in preparing students for high-growth industries and supporting the workforce needs and trends of the central-western communities. Now we break ground on what will be a launchpad for the future health care professionals so needed by local hospitals and dental and medical offices.”
Others who spoke and shared their excitement were Danowski, Shorr, Baxter, Southern, Gallon and Willhite, who Parker thanked along with Rachael Bonlarron, former PBSC executive director for community engagement, for helping secure the last $25 million needed for the project in Tallahassee.
“Getting that $25 million was very important,” said Willhite. “We are really in the center of the county right now for the growth that’s coming here. The communities around us are going to need dental care which is so important.”
Southern, who, along with his team, is leading the construction of the building, also reiterated how exciting the day was because of the years it takes to get to this point and assured his team was going to deliver.
“I promised PBSC the A-team was going to come out here and build for them to deliver an absolute stunning project and exceed expectations.”