Construction Begins on Dist. 205 School-Based Health Center

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Construction on a school-based health center is now underway in the Rockford Public School District. The facility will make it easier for students to get more treatment at school, including medical, dental and vision.

Michelle Langdon-Jenkins' nine-year-old son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD. When she learned about his disorder five years ago, she says their doctor wouldn't give her son medication because he was so young. That's when she was directed to the Blackhawk Park School-Linked Health Center, which provided the medication.

"It was a big life saver because it really helped (my son) in school and at home and pretty much everywhere," said Langdon-Jenkins.

District 205 is now building a similar site, a school-based health center on the Auburn High School campus; that means students in neighboring schools can walk to their appointment, where they can receive medical, dental, vision, nutrition and counseling services.

"To have (a center) that has vision, dental and all the other stuff, that's kind of cool too because it gives people more of an option," said Langdon-Jenkins.

The center will also save parents time.

"As opposed to a parent having to take off work and their student and however many other children they may have, and take them all to the dentist or doctor and then they're out for half a day to an entire day. This way they're out for maybe one class period," explains Scott Viel, Health Services Specialist with the Rockford Public School District.

The school-based health center is expected to be open to all RPS students on August 25th, the first day of school.

Parents can sign their kids up to visit the health center throughout the school year, during registration. The center will take insurance and Medicaid but if a family is having difficulty paying, the district will work with them.

The district has more than half a million dollars in grants to get the facility started. It will also contribute a one-time investment of
$60,000 and pay about $20,000 a year for utilities and maintenance.

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