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posted: 2/5/2010 12:01 AM

Creation of District 116 health center under study

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Round Lake Area Unit District 116 is exploring an idea of starting a medical clinic at one of its schools.

If created, District 116 Chief Executive Officer Ben Martindale said, the student-focused health center would be the first of its kind in Lake County.

Martindale said such a clinic would benefit students, particularly for required vaccinations and physicals at the beginning of the school year. One of the few such centers in the suburbs is at Evanston Township High School District 202.

"We're really looking to establish this in Round Lake, maybe as early as next year," Martindale said at a recent District 116 school finance authority meeting.

Local private foundations, grants and a health care provider would principally fund the center. District 116 also may involve Mano a Mano Family Resource Center in Round Lake Park and Nicasa, a Lake County substance abuse prevention and treatment organization.

"In terms of what the district would be obligated to provide is primarily the space," Martindale said. "The funding for this comes from a combination of sources."

As Martindale made his presentation, school finance authority member Bish Krywko expressed concern about whether any of District 116's buildings would have enough room to accommodate a clinic.

However, Martindale said Round Lake Beach Elementary School, a first-through-fifth-grade building, has mobile units primary used for meetings that could be converted into health center space.

District 116 has assembled a task force to study the clinic idea.

Evanston Township High School's health center for students is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays during the academic year. It's sponsored by Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, the city's health department, the high school and Illinois Department of Human Services.

Heidi Randhava, an Evanston Township High spokeswoman, said about 1,800 of 2,940 students are registered to use the clinic. She said the 14-year-old operation handled 3,000 visits in the 2008-09 school year.

District 202's services include physical exams, disease prevention and care for acute illnesses. All services are provided to Evanston Township High students regardless of ability to pay.

At District 116, Martindale said a health clinic has the potential to provide valuable services to students if it is established.

"I look at it as another opportunity to partner with various agencies around here," Martindale said.

District 116 serves about 6,900 students in nine buildings, from kindergarten through high school. Portions of Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Park and Hainesville are in the district.

Elected District 116 school board members will officially regain all decision-making powers July 1. Financial problems led the state to appoint a special panel overseeing budgetary and other district operations in 2002.