District 116 health clinic clears hurdle, construction not far off

Updated 4/1/2014 5:50 PM
  • Bill Johnston

    Bill Johnston

Round Lake Area Unit District 116 officials have approved a lease with a Lake County agency so a health clinic may open at the high school for the 2014-15 academic season.

District 116 board members Monday night voted 7-0 in favor of the lease with the Lake County Health Department. That move clears the path for Round Lake High School to have the first-of-its-kind health center in Lake County that's been in works since 2010.

"We are excited that this will be the first school-based health center in Lake County," health department spokeswoman Leslie Piotrowski said. "By establishing this center, we are providing access to primary care for the students and addressing many health care needs of the Round Lake community."

District 116 Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Bill Johnston said the 1,180-square-foot health center will be built on the high school's east side, and that work should start in the next few weeks. The health department received a $500,000 federal grant to help pay for building the clinic.

Johnston reiterated Tuesday that District 116 taxpayers won't foot the bill for any aspect of the clinic. He said the health department will even pay the utility bills for the facility projected to debut in August.

Piotrowski said the school-based health center is to be open three days a week. She said hours are being coordinated with Round Lake High.

Students will receive comprehensive primary care services like any private sector office, including general family medicine and lab, Piotrowski said. There also will be on-site mental health and substance abuse counseling.

In addition, Piotrowski said, the clinic will address asthma and diabetes in the student population. Teenagers in need of dental care will be referred to the health department's Midlakes facility in Round Lake Beach.

Pupils will need a consent form signed by a parent or guardian to enroll at the health center. The Illinois Department of Human Services requires the school-based centers to offer minor injury diagnosis, physicals, reproductive health services, abstinence counseling, cancer screening and other services.

Last year, the District 116 board voted to allow the clinic to offer students contraception to prevent disease and pregnancy.

Contraception availability is recommended for school-based health centers but not required by the state. Illinois law allows for a minor to receive an abortion referral from a medical provider, including school clinics, without parental notification.

Lake County Right to Life President Bonnie Quirk was among the facility's public opponents. She contended birth control has been the primary goal of the health clinic plan.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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