HOPE – A plan to establish a student/faculty health center on the Hope High School campus has been given a glowing endorsement by the Arkansas Department of Education, clearing the way for a $500,000 grant over five years to establish and stabilize operations of the center.
In a letter from ADE School Health Services Director Jerri Clark announcing the initial grant approval of $150,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year, Clark said the initial funding should be released to the Hope Public School District by mid-June.
Clark praised the plan which the Hope district put together.
“A review committee, consisting of representatives from a variety of agencies, background and expertise, carefully reviewed each grant based on completion of the application and response to the grant components,” she said. “You are to be commended for the excellent proposal, as well as the exceptional site visit.”
Some 150 parents, students, teachers, administrators, and district stakeholders attended the April event in which a team from the ADE and Arkansas Department of Health heard feedback, asked and answered questions, and toured the proposed site of the health center in the former family and consumer sciences “cottage” on the HHS campus.
Hope Superintendent Bobby Hart said the notification of the approval was a “game changer for the Hope Public Schools.”
“The committee did a wonderful job in putting the grant together and in handling all the logistics,” Hart said. “Our community supported our plan, our health care providers stepped up, and our students and families will benefit greatly.”
The district sought the $500,000 grant from the state through the ADE to open and establish operations for the clinic over its first five years of service. Funding for such clinics has been created through a $2 million annual set-aside of tobacco excise tax monies collected by the state. The HPSD will undertake the cost of continuing operations after the fifth year of service, according to Hart.
Renovations to the HHS “cottage” will be undertaken with the first $150,000 of the proposed grant; while, much of the furnishings and equipment needed for initial operations have been donated by Wadley Regional Medical Center-Hope.
The renovation plan calls for remodeling to provide for a reception area, waiting area, up to five exam rooms, restrooms, offices, laboratory, secured storage, break room, and conference room
The health center is designed provide both physical and mental health components including immunizations, wellness visits, athletics physicals, acute care, vision exams, dental exams, health education, and training about preventative health, as well as mental assessments, referrals, counseling, and medication management.
Partnerships with Dr. Ladell Dougless, of Quality Care Pediatric Clinic in Hope, and with Arkansas Counseling and Pyschodiagnostics will provide professional health services on a regular basis on site.
“We look forward to seeing this clinic open,” Hart said. “Thanks, again, to our community for supporting this project; and, we know that this support will continue as we move toward opening and running this clinic.”
Plans call for the beginning of operations in 2019, according to Hart.