1 July 2010

The Queensland Heritage Council (QHC) has approved the development of an Oral Health Centre within the heritage-listed Mayne Medical School site at Herston.

This has facilitated UQ Senate approval and the go ahead of the $120 million project which will improve dental health in Queensland by boosting education, research and patient services.

The project is funded by a $104 million Federal Government grant and a University of Queensland contribution.

Project Director Mr Mika Hayward said the QHC’s decision acknowledged the building design’s respectfulness of the heritage and environmental values of the medical school site.

“The heritage significance of the medical school building and its precinct has been central to the building’s design and location,” Mr Hayward said.

The Mayne Medical School Building, on Herston Road, was built in the 1930s. Its neo-classical style includes an imposing temple front, central copper dome and picturesque circular drive.

“We have strived to create a building that is respectful of the Medical School by maintaining space around the building, as well as view lines and major vegetation,” Mr Hayward said.

The Oral Health Centre (OHC) will be situated in a narrow footprint along Bramston Terrace, to maintain the prominence of the medical school building and views to and from the building.

The OHC will be seven levels, but will use the slope of the land so that it rises no higher than the medical school.

Removal of the annexe to the medical school, which was added in the early 1970s, will restore it to its original state as a distinct formal building, said Project Architect, Richard Coulsen of Cox Rayner Architects.

“The space reinstated between the old and the new building will thus allow views through and maintains the expression of two separate buildings.

“Viewed from Herston Road, the effect is that the classical symmetrical design of the Mayne Building is in fact strengthened by the development,” he said.

The Oral Health Centre will be the new home of UQ’s School of Dentistry, which is currently located in Turbot Street, Brisbane.

Head of UQ’s School of Dentistry, Professor Laurie Walsh said the centre would play a key role in improving the dental health of Queenslanders.

“Queensland dental health is among the worst in Australia and has been described as ‘a silent epidemic’, Professor Walsh said.

“The OHC will improve public waiting times for dental services and help address a serious shortage of dentists in private practice, particularly dental specialists. It will also enable more research into oral cancer, which kills more Australians each year than cervical cancer,” he said.

Media inquiries:
Faculty Communications Officer, Marlene McKendry - 0401 99 6847
Online – www.uq.edu.au/ohc