SUNNYSIDE — The Sunnyside School District is going to dabble in the health care business.
Partnering with Sunnyside Community Hospital, the district plans to open a student health center where students can go for immunizations, sports physicals, drug and alcohol counseling and other behavioral health services.
“A lot of our families don’t have a primary-care physician,” said Curtis Campbell, a district spokesman. “This might help bridge that gap.”
District officials plan to officially dedicate the center at 11 a.m. Dec. 1 but won’t open it to student patients until after the first of the year, Campbell said. It is located between the recently remodeled high school and the sports facilities.
Sunnyside most likely will have the only student health center in the Yakima Valley, Campbell said. The Puget Sound area has at least a few, which Sunnyside district officials visited before they applied for a $500,000 federal grant that paid for converting a former classroom into the health center, Campbell said.
The center should not strain the district budget, Campbell said, because administrators will move existing employees and programs, such as alcohol intervention counselors, from the schools into the center.
The nurses would keep their existing posts in the school buildings, Campbell said.
A committee of community members, physicians and administrators likely will determine the array of services offered at the center, Campbell said, but they will not offer condoms or other forms of birth control.
“From what I’ve been told, those things are not even on the table,” Campbell said.
The John Hughes Student Health Center will be named after the district’s former administrator in charge of drug and alcohol treatment, who died last January.