ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A trip to the doctor's office could soon be as easy as going to school.
District 205 is getting a new health center to treat students on site. This after the school board approved the measure unanimously Tuesday night. The facility will go inside the new field house that's currently under construction at Auburn High School.
It will offer a variety of services which Crusader Community Health will provide Monday through Friday year round. Crusader says it won't turn families away, even if they can't afford the care. The center is expected to open before school starts next year.
Tiffany Cooper has two children in Rockford Public Schools. 6-year-old Nehemiah at McIntosh Elementary and a daughter at Kennedy middle School, the same area the district wants to put a school-based health center.
It would provide medical, dental, vision, nutrition, and counseling services.
“It’s more important for them to have that health stuff out of the way so that they’re more focused on their school work,” Cooper said.
The health center is also supposed to be more convenient for parents.
“We understand that it’s very difficult for them to take off work, sometimes even transportation is a struggle for them,” said Health Services Supervisor, Mary Fisher.
Cooper says just getting an appointment with the doctor can be a struggle.
“My kids can’t get and exam until far into October because my doctor has a waiting list for beginning of the year exams so it would be perfect for me to be able to go and not have to wait a couple of months.”
Crusader Community Health will provide the services Monday through Friday, throughout the entire year. The center should be open next fall, once construction on the field house is completed.
The School board is expected to vote on this health care center tonight. The District has more than half a million dollars in grants to get it started, but it will also contribute a one-time investment of $60,000 and pay about $20,000 a year for utilities and maintenance.
We’ve been getting some feedback on Facebook about the cost to taxpayers, which is essentially the $20,000 maintenance fee. Some think that money should be used for other things, however Cooper who we interviewed says it’s worth that money to make sure kids are healthy. The District says that cost could be offset by attendance reimbursement. If more kids are healthy, they’re more likely to be in class.