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Construction Begins On New Community Clinic



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With this school year already underway, parents know it can be tricky to fight off germs and keep their kids healthy.

But a new school-based clinic may help. Construction has started on the new clinic at Hayward Elementary School. The medical and dental clinic will provide care for kids, families and community members.

As the school bell rings and kids rush into the classroom, there can be many obstacles to overcome while learning. And staying healthy is key.

"We know that a healthy student is a student that's best able to learn," Sioux Falls Public Schools Health Services Supervisor Molly Satter said.

The Sioux Falls School District and the Sioux Falls Health Department first teamed up in 2008 to provide increased access to medical and dental care. The first two school-based clinics opened in 2010 at Hawthorne Elementary and Terry Redlin Elementary School. The success there has proved these clinics are fulfilling a vital community need.

"We really want to get into those schools that need health care, need the help, and that their parents maybe don't need to leave work or aren't able to leave their jobs," Falls Community Health Clinical Services Manager Judy Kendall said.
    
Kendall says they've chosen to locate the clinic at the MariCar Community Center because Hayward is a Title I school and the majority of the 600 students are on free and reduced lunch plans.

"It's such an area of need. Really the closest health care center is about 10.6 miles away from the school," Kendall added.

413 people visited the clinic at Hawthorne in 2011. That clinic is for students, their siblings and parents.

The clinic at Terry Redlin is open to students and community members. That clinic saw nearly 2,000 visits last year. Hayward will operate like Terry Redlin.

"I don't think it will end here at Hayward, I think our goal would be to just continue to expand to areas where there's the greatest need," Satter said.
    
The Hayward clinic will be unique with the fist full dental clinic and a medical lab. Both the health department and the public school district hope this new addition opens up access for healthcare in the community.

The Sioux Falls Health Department was awarded a $500,000 federal grant to build this new clinic.

The medical clinic will open in March 2013, and the dental clinic will be ready for exams by the fall of 2013.
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