Second Floor Gets the Gold

A section of the new School of Dental Medicine building earns top LEED certification

dental students talk in second floor space

The renovation and expansion of the predoctoral clinics on the second floor of the dental school achieved two goals: nearly doubling work space for third- and fourth-year students and their patients and contributing to the green culture of One Kneeland Street.

The project, which was completed last fall, has been awarded Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for sustainability in recognition of water and energy efficiency; the use of recycled materials; provisions for recycling waste; the use of low-emitting materials to minimize off-gassing; indoor air quality; and overall minimal environmental impact.

LEED is a voluntary rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage the development of high-performance sustainable buildings.

“The LEED Gold certification comes during an exciting time at Tufts, when the university president is personally chairing a new Council on Campus Sustainability” to promote environmental responsibility across the university, says Mark Gonthier, executive associate dean. “This achievement may be considered the jewel in a string of sustainability-related accomplishments at the dental school over the last few years.”

Among those was the receipt in 2008 of Silver LEED certification for the five-story expansion of the dental school. The following year, single-stream recycling was implemented in the 15-floor building.

“The dental clinics moved to digital radiography about six years ago, eliminating the use of X-ray film, which contains lead and requires chemicals to develop,” Gonthier says. “We also worked with clinic vendors to reduce the amount of packaging—and therefore trash—for supplies such as infection control packets and gloves, which translates to additional savings in shipping and storage.

“Finally, we have a Green Initiative student group spearheading other sustainability activities,” he says.

The second-floor renovations mark the first time the predoctoral clinics have been expanded since the dental school moved to One Kneeland Street in 1973. The project added 54 operatories, divided among four group practices, and an emergency clinic with six operatories, bringing the total number of predoctoral clinic chairs to 144.

The work also created an oral and maxillofacial radiology suite with five digital radiology rooms, including one with a cone beam CT imaging system and another with a panoramic imaging system; a dispensary; a predoctoral satellite lab, facilitating simple lab procedures during patient visits; consultation rooms and instruction stations.

“I appreciate the beauty and positive feel of the space,” says Maureen Lombard, director of clinic operations. “While it is a large and busy clinical space serving 150 patients per day, the colors and traffic flow create an environment of calm and efficient community.”

Students are particularly appreciative of the extra work space and “happy colors,” Lombard says, and patients have commented on the comfort of the new clinical and reception areas.

Helene Ragovin can be reached at


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