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School-based clinic nears completion


by: NEWS PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Construction crews are busy putting the final touches on the health clinic at Estacada High School, which is set for a Jan. 23 grand opening. Final preparations are well under way for the grand opening of a school-based health clinic at Estacada High School, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Terri Lloyd, the administrative assistant to the school district’s special services department, said the idea for the clinic began more than two years ago with a discussion of how to reduce student absenteeism.

It was discovered that many students had to travel to Gresham or Portland for doctor’s appointments. The trips often would consume entire school days, sending officials searching for solutions.

Meetings were scheduled with representatives from Legacy Health Care, which was looking to establish a presence in more rural areas that had limited access to health care services. The school district was a good candidate since it covers 750 square miles and includes the communities of Colton, Redland and parts of Sandy.

A partnership was formed and grants were submitted to secure funding for the project.

Although the district’s first attempt at obtaining a construction grant was denied, the district received a call last December urging a re-submittal. It was approved about a week later, and the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners and an Oregon school-based health group contributed to help cover the costs.

As a result, the construction is fully financed by grant funds.

Once it’s completed, the 2,200-square-foot structure will house four examination rooms, a procedure room, a lab and two dental offices. There also will be a break room, two smaller private offices for doctors, a reception area and a small meeting room.

The school district will own and run the clinic, and owns the property it sits on.

Construction was slowed somewhat by windy and rainy weather, but sheetrock has been installed and the work is progressing.

Initially, the clinic will be open a couple of days per week, with 15 hours dedicated to the students. The long-term goal is to be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Teachers, as well as members of the public will be able to access services. It will be an insurance-based clinic, not an urgent-care emergency facility. No major surgeries will be performed there.

A nurse practitioner will staff the clinic and be sponsored by an area doctor. The school district also is looking to form a partnership with colleges in the region to offer internships for nursing students hoping to gain professional experience.