Editorial: Dental school: Great potential for Tazewell County
10/28/2013 - The Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD - The new Bluefield College School of Dental Medicine is still on schedule for development at the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park. And the project still has great potential for the region as a whole.
Plans for the dental school were jointly announced last year by the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority and Bluefield College. The new college of dentistry is planned as the anchor development at the Bluestone Park.
A recent economic impact study conducted by Mangum Economic Consulting found that the new dental school will create goods and services, salaries and wages, health care and spending, and from that tax revenue for Tazewell County totaling $74,000 in the first year of the project.
By year four of operation tax revenue from the dental school is estimated at $1.5 million, according to the study. And by the seventh year of operation, the dental school is expected to generate an impressive $2.6 billion in tax revenue.
Dental school officials estimate that 250 students will be enrolled at the facility after four years with each spending an average of $1,379 per month in Tazewell County during the school year for a total of $727,843 in spending per year. The study also found that the project will create 43 new full-time jobs for faculty and staff and another 93 full-time related positions within the county for a total of 136 new jobs after four years of student enrollment.
Once the actual dental school is constructed, the county’s IDA will own the actual facility, and Bluefield College will lease the building from the county — providing an additional stream of steady of income for the county for years to come, according to Bluefield College President Dr. David Olive.
In addition to serving as the anchor business for the Bluestone, county and college officials also hope the project will attract related spin-off developments, including apartments for students, houses and condominiums for faculty and staff, and opportunities for new business start-ups and current business expansion.
The study estimates the overall economic impact of the dental school at a half million dollars for Tazewell County in its first year of operation alone, a $10.4 million impact by year four, and an $18 million overall economic impact by year seven. And beyond the tax dollars, the dental school is expected to provide enhanced oral health benefits for the citizens of Tazewell County as well as improved access to dental care.
Olive correctly calls the dental school a “great opportunity” for Tazewell County and the region as a whole. It will be the only dental school in Central Appalachia.
We are glad to see that this unique partnership between Bluefield College and Tazewell County is moving forward.
It’s a great example of what can be done when officials are working together toward a common goal of creating new economic development and growth.
And we are excited about the great economic development and tax revenue potential of the dental school. Once it is up and running it will be a tremendous boon to the regional economy.