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Kingsport moves forward on dental school plan

Dental school

The city of Kingsport is one step closer to the opening of a four-year dental school downtown through an initiative partnering with the University of Tennessee, East Tennessee State University, and Ballad Health. With few dental schools in the state and the region, the facility would help not only to improve access to dental students but also increase dental health options in the community. Plans are in place for the school to open at a facility located at 111 W. Sevier Ave., near Holston Valley Medical Center, by 2024. The location used to be the office for an orthodontist and is already plumbed for dental procedures. The purchase of the property could cost around $1 million with an additional $1-1.3 million in phase I costs for the project, which city officials are hoping to offset by private donations and grants. Ongoing costs for the facility would be around $800,000 a year. As part of the program, the dental school would provide services for low-income patients in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky.