04/19/2013 07:11 EDT | Updated 06/19/2013 05:12 EDT

McGill dentistry students face possible $20,000 fee hike

McGill University is hoping dentistry students will agree to cough up an additional $5,000 more in fees a year to help it fund two major upcoming projects.

The hike could end up totalling $20,000 per student.

The department’s dean Paul Allison said much of the dentistry equipment being used is from the 1980s and needs to be replaced.

“We want to create state-of-the-art classrooms for them,” he said.

The department’s student clinic also has to move.

The current student dentistry facilities are housed at the Montreal General Hospital in a space the university rents.

“The clinic, which is only one part of the Faculty of Dentistry, has to move because, with all the movement of the [Montreal University Health Centre], the Montreal General Hospital has to do some renovations,” Allison said.

The department has been given a deadline of August 2014. Allison said it is currently negotiating with the owners of a possible new site for the clinic, but nothing has been confirmed.

He says the replacement of the equipment and the expense of the move will end up costing McGill about $19 million.

Allison said the university has already raised about half of money through government and university funding, its alumni and other fundraising programs.

The department is asking students to pitch in to cover part of the other half.

“We’re asking them to make a contribution towards this,” he said.

As a result, dentistry students will be asked to vote on the increase in a referendum likely to take place later this year.