From Lab Simulation to Practice,
Touro Dental School Innovates
It’s not often you get to design a state-of-the-art dental school. In fact, in New York State, this unique opportunity presented itself to Lilker engineers just once in a generation−with the opening of Tour College of Dental Medicine (TCDM), the state’s first new dental school in 50 years and one of only 66 dental schools in the nation. The new facility, located in Hawthorne, was designed to house an innovative 113-chair simulation lab and a 108-chair clinic.
Arguably the most technologically advanced preclinical dental program in the country, the “sim lab” takes students with no practical experience and prepares them for success with patients in the clinic. Custom designed for Touro, the lab teaches students how to perform dental procedures on mannequins utilizing a sophisticated three-dimensional computer network.
The clinic, which serves the Westchester region, comprises multiple clinical practice units, an oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic, student workrooms and sophisticated diagnostic equipment.
A tight design schedule and phased construction requirements for the 4-story facility presented multiple challenges for the project team of Lilker, DIGroup Architecture, Touro Facilities Group, Pavarini Construction and dental equipment supplier Henry Schein. Lilker’s engineers provided full MEP and lighting design services for the sim lab and an instrument sterilization suite on the top floor; the clinic and a server room on the third floor; and mechanical rooms and a centralized vacuum/compressor system, electrolytic water filtration and disinfection system on the partially occupied second floor.
“Plumbing design for the clinic was monumentally complicated,” says Lilker Project Manager and Senior Associate Michael Putnam, P.E. “Each of the 108 dental suites requires a half-dozen different plumbing services, ranging from centralized vacuum to oxygen and nitrous oxide medical gases. Due to the chair configuration, most of these services had to be routed through the ceiling of the occupied floor below which added to the overall design challenge. Credit is due to the plumbing team, who, through extensive surveys, provided an extremely successful design that resulted in zero change orders due to existing conditions.”
Lilker also replaced the building’s entire cooling plant including chillers and cooling towers, sprinklered newly renovated spaces, and provided high efficiency LED lighting on the third and fourth floors. TCDM enrolled its inaugural class in the fall of 2016, and opened the clinic in January of 2018. Plans are currently underway for expanding the clinic to add additional chairs.