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Manatee County Incentives Encourage LECOM's Plans for Dental School in Manatee County

BRADENTON -  Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) presented plans today for the LECOM School of Dental Medicine in Lakewood Ranch, a project facilitated by incentives totaling $203,300 approved by the Manatee Board of County Commissioners.

"LECOM plans to invest $52 million to bring the dental school to Manatee County and will employ nearly 200 individuals including dental faculty, administrators and dental hygienists, along with technical, administrative and other support staff," said Eric Basinger, executive director of the Manatee Economic Development Council (EDC), a division of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. The EDC assisted LECOM in applying for performance-based incentives from Manatee County Government.

"We are excited to bring this substantial investment and important educational opportunity to Manatee County," said Robert Hirsch, D.D.S., dean of the LECOM School of Dental Medicine. "The direct impact of institutional, employee and student spending should reach approximately $14 million in the Bradenton area, and as much as $35 million through direct and indirect spending statewide."

The Manatee Board of County Commissioners approved an economic development incentive grant of up to $174,000 over four years and transportation impact fee refunds of up to $29,300. The incentives are based on LECOM's commitment to hire 58 new employees over four years at an annual average wage that is at least 15 percent higher than the county average.

"Manatee County residents will benefit from LECOM's investment in the community and the economic impact of the dental school's payroll, as well as the ultimate product of the dental school: highly trained dentists to serve residents," said Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County administrator.

The Florida Commission for Independent Education has provisionally approved the dental school at LECOM's Bradenton campus in Lakewood Ranch. LECOM is awaiting initial accreditation in February from the Commission on Dental Accreditation, at which time the college is expected to recruit students for the dental school, which will be only the third in Florida.
The LECOM School of Dental Medicine will open in Bradenton for classes in 2012. The school's first class will enroll 100 first-year students. Within four years of its inaugural class, the School of Dental Medicine will enroll 400 students.
In addition, dental clinics staffed by faculty and students will be able to treat up to 600 patients per day providing dental health care for many who are currently underserved. Only those patients whose treatment regimen meets the educational requirements of the dental school will be accepted.
The Board-approved grant is one of several customized incentives which Manatee County offers businesses wishing to relocate or expand in Manatee County. A full list of Manatee County's economic development incentives can be found at www.mymanatee.org/econ_dev.


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