Moving out and onward

Transition to new building comes together with teamwork
December 16th, 2019

Jackie Touch (left) and Chris Sickler pack up one of several clinic dispensaries.

If moving a family seems overwhelming, try moving much of a dental school.

When 1,200-plus packing crates arrived the first Friday of December, there was a sense of surrealism as Texas A&M College of Dentistry employees started emptying drawers, cabinets and filing cabinets. Many had been dreaming of this day since the Clinic and Education Building first broke ground in 2017.

Ashley Chelette prepares the ortho/pedo clinic for the move.

“It was very encouraging during this time of difficult transition to see faculty, staff, assistants, residents and administrators work side-by-side over a two-week period to accomplish the daunting task of packing over 1,200 crates, hundreds of boxes and hundreds of other equipment items,” says Dr. Steve Griffin, associate dean for clinical affairs.

All clinic personnel—including support staff, group leaders, graduate program directors and the entire Office of Clinical Affairs—had a narrow window to pack up and label the dental and office supplies for their new home.

Bulky items—such as cone beams, PAN/CEPHs and other radiology equipment—were the most difficult to move and required specialty moving services, he says. As expected, the dispensaries proved to be the most challenging to box up because of the sheer volume of both large and small items. The need for massive coordination and meticulous planning throughout the school was paramount.

“We couldn’t have done it without the countless hours spent by Facilities and IT doing their part to assist with equipment and electronics moves,” Griffin says.

Moving crews in six trucks were slated to ferry the packed crates across Hall Street and down Gaston Avenue from Dec.12-16. The next four days were set aside for unpacking and setting up offices, dispensaries and supply closets before the school’s two-week winter break.

When students, faculty and staff return in early 2020, the building will be ready for a soft opening Jan. 6-7. Some residency programs will start seeing patients on Jan. 7, while undergraduate clinics will start patient care on Jan. 8.

— Kathleen Green Pothier