EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Having to leave town to attend dental school is no longer an excuse. El Paso’s new dental school will soon start accepting applications for their first class.

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) will open the Hunt School of Dental Medicine in South Central El Paso. The school will be the first dental school to open in Texas in more than 50 years and the first based at a health care center on the U.S. – Mexico border.

Texas Tech Chancellor Tedd Michell says $20 million of the state’s two-year budget is expected to be approved by Governor Gregg Abbott to go towards the new dental school. Mitchell believes there is a desperate need for a dental school in West Texas and hopes it becomes a pipeline for new dental graduates to the area.

“So if you look at the thousands of students who have graduated over the last decade from the dental schools in Texas quite literally only a couple of dozen over the last decade have come out here to far West Texas this will help us do better than that,” Dr. Mitchell said.

The Chancellor tells KTSM the school includes a facility that will hold up to 130 dental chairs and serve as both a community clinic and an educational setting for the dental students who, under supervision, will learn to treat patients.

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is set to open its doors to students in the Fall of 2021.