Pediatric dental office proposed for Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — A local dentist is seeking permission to build a pediatric dental office off Court Street in Middlebury, a practice that would serve children as well as adults with disabilities.
The project is being proposed by Brian Collins, a Cornwall resident with almost three decades of experience as a dentist — primarily in Texas. Collins and his wife, Anne, moved to Cornwall a couple years ago. Since then, he has been providing pediatric dental services at offices in Burlington, in hospital settings, and locally with Middlebury Dental Group.
Collins has had the goal of working out of a single location. And he believes there is enough need to warrant a full-time pediatric dental practice in Middlebury. Addison County clients currently have to catch him during his hours at Middlebury Dental Group, or they travel to other offices in Rutland, Burlington or New York state.
“It’s definitely a commitment,” Collins said of his proposed practice, which would operate out of a new, 3,650-square-foot building slated for the Middlebury South Village development. “Hopefully, it will become a growing concern and will benefit the greater community.”
Collins noted his building proposal comes after having searched the area for an existing facility that might have been able to accommodate his practice. But he said he could not find enough room at other dental practices and could not find a vacant building that could have been readily converted to a pediatric office.
Pediatric dental offices, he explained, generally need more space than a regular practice. That’s in part because young or disabled adult patients rarely visit the office alone, so more room is needed to accommodate parents or companions.
Pediatric dentists also like to have their operations consolidated on one floor.
Trying to retrofit dental equipment into a conventional building can also be difficult, added Collins, who stressed the need for the practice to impart a sense of tranquility.
“There are a number of design elements that contribute to the interior being a friendly, non-threatening, welcoming environment for kids,” he said. “The idea is to provide care in a very positive, comfortable setting. That’s my baseline expectation for a pediatric office.”
A floor plan for the proposed building shows six operatory stations. Four of those stations would be located in one room, with the other two in private rooms. Plans also show a waiting room/reception area, a break room, restrooms, sterilization area and a consultation room. It’s a building that would be accessible to people with disabilities.
Collins is very pleased to have found a potential spot in Middlebury South Village, which includes a mix of commercial and residential ventures. He explained that it is conveniently located for those traveling on Route 7 and is also quite close to his prospective young clients attending classes at Middlebury Union middle and high schools, and Mary Hogan Elementary. The Mary Johnson Children’s Center is also nearby.
At the outset, Collins would be the only dentist staffing the office, though he sees the potential for adding another if business warrants. He plans on having two dental hygienists to start out.
Collins said he sees his dental career spanning another 10 years or so, whereupon he would look to sell the business to another pediatric dentist.
Middlebury’s Design Advisory Committee took its first look at the proposed dental practice on Dec. 4. The plan will also be reviewed by the Middlebury Development Review Board. If permitting goes smoothly, Collins believes construction could start next April, with completion of the building next fall. Bread Load Corp. of Middlebury is the project contractor.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]..

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