Otago University says a new national dental school will match the best in Australia.
The university yesterday signed off on an upgrade of over $100 million for a centre which trains nearly all of New Zealand's dentists.
The school is being rebuilt and will have a new dental hospital and research facilities.
The new building will have 61 more dental chairs and 50 percent more floor space.
Most of the current Walsh building will stay, but its modernist blue-glass front will be replaced with a replica in new materials.
The university's pro-vice-chancellor of Health Sciences, Peter Crampton, said the school will be state-of-the-art and catch it up to the newest ones in Australia.
Vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the school had been bursting at the seams.
"It's a facility that is the victim of its own success in some ways.
"The number of students has more than doubled in the last decade and we just have really failed to keep pace with that development."
"But we are now ready to boldly go where we have never gone before."