PBSC Seeks $25 Million To Fund Dental School On Lox Groves Campus

Palm Beach State College President Ava Parker recently asked the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation for its help with the start of a dental program building at the school’s Loxahatchee Groves campus.

Parker made her presentation during the delegation’s meeting Wednesday, Dec. 8, held at PBSC’s campus in Belle Glade.

“We’re so happy to have the opportunity to host you here at one of our five locations,” Parker said. “This year, I need you to know that this is our No. 1 priority,” she said. “We’ve been in our current medical and dental sciences building since 1962. The building is the same age as I am.”

She said the building has been on the Florida Department of Education’s capital outlay list to be replaced since 2008.

“For a long time, we’ve been trying to ensure that our students have the best possible dental training that they can receive as dental hygienists and dental assistants,” Parker said. “Now, finally, I’m so happy to say that we’re ranked No. 1 on the PECO [Public Education Capital Outlay] funding list, which is a really big deal for us.”

She said the building would house dental hygiene, dental assisting, surgical technologist and physical therapy assistant programs on the Loxahatchee Groves campus.

“It will be our second building there,” Parker said. “We also will have simulation services available. We will have a multipurpose robotic medical simulation, which improves nursing and dental students’ opportunity.”

She added that the new building will also improve the school’s nursing program by providing ways for prelicensure students to practice nursing skills.

Parker noted that the college houses Atlantic Coast Dental Research, which provides continuing education for dental professionals.

“Most importantly, it serves the community for those who can’t afford dental care,” she said. “What’s great is that we currently provide that service in Lake Worth. With this new service, we will be transferring this service west so our citizens in the western communities will have access to dental services for those who cannot afford them.”

Parker said the old building in Lake Worth can no longer be renovated, and the Loxahatchee Groves campus needs a second building to expand.

“I request, at this point, $25 million,” she said. “What I say to you is that we are No. 1 primarily because we are bringing money to the table. It’s very unusual for colleges to bring about $15 million, but we’ve raised that much money. I think that shows that we have skin in the game, and we’re asking you all to help us get the $25 million to complete the project.”

She said the project is unique in that it meets demands that are needed in the state.

“Our students deserve to have up-to-date dental training so that they can be ready to go right to the offices,” Parker said.

She asked the delegation to work with the college to obtain the funding necessary to complete the project.

“As of 2008, we have been patient, but we’re asking you to work with us to get this done because we think that it will make a big difference to our community,” Parker said.

State Rep. Matt Willhite (D-District 86) said the facility is very much needed in central Palm Beach County.

“This is needed not just for medical professionals, but the need for dental services in the area,” Willhite said. “I think the delegation recognizes how much you do for the community. Hopefully, we can get it done very soon.”