With laughter and prayer, members of the Grove Dental Associates team broke ground for the practice's newest location in Grove.

The event, on Thursday, Aug. 10, took place at the three-acre construction site, located behind the existing practice and across from Lowe's.

Officials hope the structure will be completed, weather permitting, by March of 2018.

"It will double our space," Dr. Rick Miller said. "We're so cramped on administrative space, waiting room and parking. We couldn't find a way to add on to the existing structure to fix the issues."

Miller describes the structure as "nice, but not over the top."

"It fits Grove and also reflects the quality of care that we strive to give," he said. "Most people think Stan [Crawford] and I are crazy to build [on] at our age. But we want to continue [our] legacy of 50 years of dental care.

"Growth determined our expansion."

Miller said he and partners, Dr. Stan and Audrey Crawford, began talking about the expansion five years ago. The trio decided to move forward with the project after adding Dr. Raegan Vaughan to the practice last year.

Dr. Audrey Crawford echoed Miller's thoughts concerning the expansion.

"It's so overdue to provide what we need," Crawford said. "It's just a huge step [to take]."

During the groundbreaking, Crawford led the members of the Grove Dental Associates team, in a time of prayer.

She said it was important to bathe the new site in prayer, so that no harm would come to any single person working on the project in the coming days and weeks.

"We [also] asked the Lord to grant us grace, for the transition from the old office to the new office," Crawford said. "It was an important thing to do while we were all there."

Crawford based her prayer on Psalms 133:1-2, which talks about how blessings of life are found in unity of faith.

About the facility

The structure, which will include two stories, will include 14 examination rooms, a conference room, and expanded office space, parking and waiting areas. 

Argyl Hill with Crossland Construction, will serve as the site manager. Crossland officials anticipate they will have three to four team members on site while completing the concrete work.

Throughout the construction process, Hill anticipates there will be 20 to 30 construction personnel on site at any given time, depending upon the subcontract work taking place.

The Satsuki Gardens, built by Miller's father will be expanded to include a new water feature and help link the two buildings.

"Our goal is to clear out the tree line, so the gardens can be continuous," explained Miller. "We're going to put in a koi pond around the building. The building is not designed in a Japanese style building, but it keeps with the theme of the existing building.

"So many people comment that the gardens provide a relaxing atmosphere. It's almost a trademark deal. Kids love to feed the fish, and patients love the calming atmosphere."

Miller said he hopes the existing structure will be rented or leased to a complementary business, like a medical clinic or a spa or salon.

Did You Know?

Grove Dental Associates have a total of 27 employees, including four dentists, seven dental hygienists, seven dental assistants and nine support staff members.

Dr. Leonard Miller opened the practice, on the grounds of what was then Grove General Hospital, in 1969.

He moved the practice to its current location in 1973. The pagoda style roof was added a year later.

In 1989, Dr. Rick Miller joined his father in the practice. Less than 10 years later, in 1996, Drs. Stan and Audrey Crawford joined the team after practicing in Grove since 1993. 

Leonard Miller retired from the practice in 1998. In 2016, Dr. Raegan Vaughan joined the practice in preparation for the expansion project.

The new two-story 10,000 square-foot structure, is expected to open in March 2018.

The practice will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.