CRESTVIEW — A Bradenton-based dental school that last spring considered opening a branch campus here announced it has selected DeFuniak Springs instead.


CRESTVIEW — A Bradenton-based dental school that last spring considered opening a branch campus here announced it has selected DeFuniak Springs instead.



This week’s announcement by Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine comes more than a year after school administrators toured Crestview with Mayor David Cadle and Dr. Durell Peaden, a LECOM board of trustees member.



Peaden, who was instrumental in luring a Florida A&M University School of Pharmacy campus here, had said, “Rural and underserved areas like Northwest Florida” interest LECOM.



LECOM selected DeFuniak Springs when a former neurosurgery clinic and an adjacent, three-year-old motel went on the market.



"The Lord sent us that," Peaden said, adding the site can serve people from 80 miles away. "It was ideal as a dental school and was already approved by state."



The former motel will serve as a student residence hall when the LECOM School of Dental Medicine patient clinic opens in 2015, Peaden said.



The $975,000 school will provide 24 jobs, including a full-time dentist and 12 part-time faculty members, a LECOM news release stated.



A rotation of 50 fourth-year dental students — under licensed dental faculty members’ direct supervision — daily will provide affordable care to 150 patients.



The dental patient clinic will be a “godsend to health care in the area,” DeFuniak Springs resident Mac Work said.



While Crestview lost the LECOM campus, there are medical and educational opportunities in the city's future, Peaden said, adding he could not yet discuss them publicly.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.