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SIU trustees approve budget for new dental care clinic in Alton

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees has approved the budget for the SIU School of Dental Medicine’s Advanced Care Clinic on the Alton campus, along with an honorary doctor of humane letters to Lawrence B. “Larry” Heitz and a distinguished service award to Shirley J. Portwood, PhD.

The SDM project’s estimated cost is $11.5-million with funding from grants, SDM reserves, University plant funds, and internal or external financing. The debt service will be repaid with SDM clinic operation revenues, equipment usage fees, and future donations and grants.

The ACC project will involve demolishing the existing MDL Building 283, which is no longer in use. The new clinic will be constructed on that site, and serve dental students and residents. The clinic will serve a comprehensive range of patient dental needs through existing, expanded and new post-doctoral programs.

By adding general anesthesia capabilities in two medical operating suites, the SDM will be able to offer more comprehensive, predictable and safe treatment, allowing for the timely completion of care, particularly for children and patients with special dental care needs.

The board also recognized Heitz and Portwood for their outstanding contributions to the Edwardsville campus and SIUE community. Both will be honored at the May 2020 commencement exercises at First Community Arena at the Vadalabene Center.

Heitz is the first student to graduate with a master’s of business administration from the SIUE School of Business. Throughout his lengthy, successful career, he has served as an engineer with Owens, Illinois, program manager at Emerson Electric Aerospace, president of Tubular Steel, Inc., and owner/developer of several hi-tech manufacturing businesses. In 2016, he established the Lawrence Institute, an organization dedicated to helping individuals permanently improve their lives.

Meanwhile, Portwood is an SIUE Distinguished Emerita Professor, who earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in history with a specialization in Russian history from SIUE. She also earned both a master’s and doctorate in history with an emphasis in African American women, American women and modern Russia from Washington University in St. Louis. She served on the SIU Board of Trustees from 2013-19, and continues to serve SIUE and its surrounding communities.


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