HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — High Point University broke ground on its new dental school on Saturday.

The new building will be three stories tall and 77,500 square feet. It will be home to the Workman School of Dental Medicine, the only private dental school in North Carolina.

A large crowd was in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony.

“I hope you understand the power of this moment. For all of history, this will be the day where we remember the beginning of the Workman School of Dental Medicine,” said Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU’s president. “It’s huge for High Point University.”

HPU is able to build the new dental school in large part thanks to a $32 million gift from the Rick and Angie Workman Foundation.

Dr. Rick Workman is currently HPU’s Dental Innovator in Residence.

“While students have to learn the sciences and they have to learn the technical skills, the learning of leadership and interpersonal communication, how to lead a team and your staff, how to interact with patients and how to be a valued member of your community is very important to yourself,” Workman said. “It’s very important to the dental profession to take that and accept that responsibility within the community.”

The Workman School of Dental Medicine will first host students in Fall 2024. It will feature a fully functional dental office, student lounge, simulation labs and seven classrooms.

The haptic simulation lab will be the world’s largest lab using SIMtoCARE dental simulation units to help train dental students. The simulators can replicate the feel of a real tooth so dental students can train safely without seeing live patients.