Dental school moving downtown

For more than 40 years, the School of Dentistry of the University of the Pacific has called the neighborhood home, providing no-cost and low-cost dental care through its clinics and enlivening the area with more than 1,100 students, faculty and staff. But that may soon change.

School officials have signed an agreement to leave their longtime home at 2155 Webster Street and buy a new building downtown at 155 Fifth Street. The 350,000-square-foot building, behind the Intercontinental Hotel at Fifth and Howard Streets, formerly housed offices for Wells Fargo Bank.

The dean of the dental school, Patrick J. Ferrillo Jr., announced last year that the school was exploring how to expand and update its facilities. The three options: renovate the existing building, expand into the adjacent parking lot on Sacramento Street or move to another part of town.

The school is expected to put its current home up for sale. An obvious buyer is California Pacific Medical Center, located just across the street. But hospital officials recently unveiled plans to renovate their facilities that do not include the dental school building.