The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
School of Dentistry Building

The School of Dentistry was established in 1875, the same year in which the Homeopathic Medical School was organized, and both schools were given quarters in the westerly of the two Professors' Houses which faced North University Avenue. For more than thirty years the Dental School was forced to shift from one building to another, but as a result it has the distinction of having occupied three of the four original Professors' Houses, which were the first buildings on the campus.

By 1877 the first quarters were crowded, and in June of that year the Regents authorized the removal of the College "from the building which it now occupies to the building occupied by Professor Frieze" (R.P., 1876-81, p. 133). This was the easterly of the two original Professors' Houses which faced South University Avenue at approximately Page  1612where the Clements Library now stands. The Committee on Buildings and Grounds was instructed to refit and arrange this building for the use of the Dental College and to have it ready for occupancy by October 1. The remodeling was not to cost more than $1,000.

The School continued to grow rapidly, and in October of 1878 the Regents authorized the immediate construction of a "permanent" addition. This move was prompted by the fact that the laboratory room, with facilities for eighteen students, was actually being used by thirty, and ten more were unprovided for. At the same time, the lecture room, with seating capacity for about fifty students, was regularly attended by fifty-five, and there was prospect of an early increase to sixty-five or seventy, so the addition authorized, therefore, was to provide a new laboratory and lecture room. The old lecture room was made into a dental museum, facilities for which were completely lacking. The Regents decided that the need was so pressing that favorable action by the legislature must be anticipated (R.P., 1876-81, pp. 304, 417). The new rooms were ready for use by winter of the year 1878-79, and the legislature justified the confidence of the Regents by appropriating $3,250 for the purpose.

In 1885 Dean Taft reported urgent need of more room for the Clinical or Operative Department; conditions had been crowded for several years, and at that time there were six chairs in the lecture room and twenty-eight chairs in the operating room. The lecture room also, he complained, was "too small, and of the wrong shape." He asked for an amphitheater with a seating capacity of 125 and presented to the Board of Regents a sketch of a plan for a building which would be two stories in height, with the lecture room on the second floor and the first floor devoted to classrooms, reading rooms, work in metallurgy, and other special work (R.P., 1881-86, pp. 562-63). He suggested that such a building might well be erected as an addition to the west end of the present building and estimated its cost at $2,542. Nothing was done at the time, however. In 1888 the Regents passed a resolution acknowledging the "extreme necessity" of more room but stating that "the way does not seem to be open at present, as it is deemed unwise to anticipate appropriations."

Relief was finally provided in 1891 when the University Hospital was removed from the easterly of the two Professors' Houses facing North University Avenue. During the summer of 1891 this building was overhauled and prepared for the use of the Dental School. The new quarters proved satisfactory, and the School found itself able to provide "with ease" for the increasing number of students.

The growth of the School continued, however. In 1903 President Angell stated that an entirely new building was needed for the Dental Department "which is wretchedly housed" (R.P., 1901-6, p. 225), and in 1905, when the Regents sought the services of Dr. W. D. Miller, of Berlin, as Dean, they assured him that a new dental building would be erected as soon as possible.

In 1906 Donaldson and Meier, architects, were requested to draw up plans and specifications for a new building, and in April of the following year the plans were accepted, and bids were authorized. In June the property on the east side of North University Avenue, adjacent to the Homeopathic Hospital, was purchased for the site (R.P., 1906-10, pp. 142-43). It was to cost not more than $18,500, and the three buildings then standing on the site were moved to vacant lots which the University proposed Page  1613to buy for $3,500. Later, $115,000 was set aside from the building fund for the erection of the new Dental Building. Construction was begun in 1907 (R.P., 1906-10, p. 158).

In September, 1908, President Angell reported that the Dental Building, which was almost ready for occupancy, would be one of the finest in the entire country (R.P., 1906-10, p. 349). It was occupied in October, 1908, but formal dedication exercises did not take place until May, 1909. More than sixty clinics were conducted by dentists from various parts of the country, with more than two hundred alumni in attendance. The formal exercises, held in the main amphitheater, were opened with an address by President Angell, followed by a banquet in Barbour Gymnasium.

The contractors were Koch Brothers, of Ann Arbor, whose bid totaled $84,988; changes in the plans, however, brought the figure to $90,259.82 (R.P., 1906-10, p. 170). Ultimately, most of the original amount of $115,000 was used. The value of the equipment in 1913 was given as more than $29,000.

In 1922-23 an addition to the Dental Building was built by John Bollin Company of Detroit. The contract price, subject to adjustment, was $67,800, and an additional amount of $44,226 was set aside for costs of services to be provided by the Buildings and Grounds Department. The building was enlarged to the north by an extension of 38 feet 5 inches, under the supervision of state architect Lynn W. Fry at a cost of $128,296. This increased the total floor space by 19,248 square feet and brought the cost of the building to $326,500. The valuation of the Dental Building in 1954, including the Kellogg Foundation Institute, is $674,110.

The structure, which consists of two stories and a basement, is 167 by 119 feet and has a gross floor area of 64,971 square feet. The basement is of dressed Bedford limestone; the upper walls of red vitreous brick are trimmed with Bedford limestone, and the roof is red flat tile. The building, which is fireproof, is heated from the central heating plant. Ventilation is supplied by two large fans in the attic and by separate vent pipes in every room. A humidifying system for the clinic is in the basement.

The basement contains large locker rooms for both men and women, as well as a dental materials laboratory, book vault, storeroom, photographic rooms, and a small lecture room.

The main floor is devoted to the library and reading room, administrative offices, the office of the stock and dispensing clerk, the dental bacteriology laboratory, and the temperature rooms. On the north side of the main floor are a lecture room, prosthetic laboratory, and the freshman and sophomore technic laboratories, each of which contains a large preparation room and storage rooms for the students' work.

A double stairway of marble and iron leads to the second floor, where a waiting room for patients occupies a central space. To the right are the X-ray Laboratory and Oral Surgery demonstration room, and to the left is an amphitheater, an examination and appointment room, and two rooms for the Department of Crown and Bridge Prosthesis. The entire north half of the floor is devoted to an operating room, 72 by 166 feet, well lighted by skylights and large windows, and equipped with 133 dental chairs. A gallery, ten feet wide, in the rear of the room is used for departmental offices and for special clinic work.

Although there has been no addition to the Dental Building since 1923, there have been several alterations since 1941. In 1942 the two technic laboratories on the first floor were rehabilitated under the terms of a gift from the W. K. Page  1614Kellogg Foundation. An amount of $113,000 was granted by the Foundation "for alterations and purchase of equipment for the undergraduate technical laboratories of the School of Dentistry and for the purchase of technical and clinical instrument outfits to be used by undergraduate dental students" (R.P. 1939-42, p. 887).

The entrance to the Dental Building was remodeled with funds donated by the members of the dental class of 1917. This gift was presented in honor of Dr. Marcus L. Ward, former Dean of the School of Dentistry, and suitable plaques were erected. The entrance was dedicated in June, 1947.

After the construction of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute the Oral Surgery clinic was moved to new quarters in that building. This allowed an expansion of the X-ray Laboratory into that part of the Dental Building formerly used for oral surgery. The dental classes of 1918 and 1923 presented a gift of approximately $4,500 to remodel the X-ray Laboratory and to purchase new equipment. At the reunion of these classes in June, 1948, the laboratory was dedicated as a memorial to Dr. U. G. Rickert, formerly Professor of Diagnosis, Dental Therapeutics, and Radiology, who died on October 21, 1938.

The most significant change in the Dental Building took place in 1949, when the main operating clinic on the second floor was completely rehabilitated. New dental chairs, units, and cabinets were installed for the use of the clinic classes. The cost of this project was $295,000, and the clinic now contains ninety-four chairs, which are shared by junior and senior students on alternate days. There are also thirty-nine chairs for the use of dental hygienists. The clinic of the Dental Building is one of the most modern and well equipped to be found in the world.

Since 1950 several areas of the building have been remodeled to allow most efficient use of the available space for present instructional needs. In 1950 the Dental Materials Laboratory was expanded, and the West Laboratory was remodeled to allow a capacity of 185 student benches. In 1952 the West Lecture Room was replaced with a Prosthetic Laboratory containing the most recent types of equipment. At this time the men's locker room was also modernized and expanded. In 1953 the Crown and Bridge Laboratory adjoining the main clinic was remodeled, and the Examination Room was enlarged.