The University of New England is moving forward with plans to open what would be northern New England’s only college of dental medicine in the fall of 2013.

UNE announced today that it has been awarded $3.5 million from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for its proposed Portland-based dental school and teaching clinic. The funding was authorized by Maine voters last November as part of a $5 million bond to increase access to dental care in Maine. UNE, which had already been working to develop the school, submitted the only application for the funds.

The state funding, along with a $2.3 million commitment from Northeast Delta Dental, will be used to help startup costs associated with opening the College of Dental Medicine in the fall of 2013.

“We look forward to working with UNE as Maine’s first dental school becomes a reality. This definitely fills a strong need in our state,”  Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of Maine CDC, said in an announcement of the award.  

“As the largest health care work force provider for Maine, UNE is fully prepared to create an innovative state-of-the-art education facility that will allow future dentists to be trained as part of a team of health care providers,” UNE President Danielle Ripich said in the announcement.

The school will begin accepting applications for students in June 2012 in anticipation of its opening in the fall of 2013. UNE is working to win accreditation from the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation in late summer 2012.

Goddard Hall, a 150-year-old building on the Portland campus, has been renovated to serve as the home for the College of Dental Medicine’s administrative offices.