A year from now, Logan Elementary School in northeast Spokane will be home to a full-service health clinic serving students at that school.
“We are very excited about this program,” said Becky Doughty, the chief health officer for Spokane Public Schools, which announced the Logan Wellness Center project on Tuesday at the school.
Funded by the Washington Legislature and the school district, the $1.85 million facility will be the first of its kind at a school in Eastern Washington, according to Doughty.
The project is still in the planning stage, but will be built adjacent to the school’s main entrance on Montgomery Avenue.
The clinic is expected to accommodate eight to 10 health providers at a time, said Dougherty, who noted that staff would be drawn from local university medical and nursing programs.
That model would allow patients to receive free services.
“That’s what’s allowing us to do that, by partnering with local colleges,” said Doughty, the district’s executive director of school support services. “They (medical and nursing students) are also getting important experience with kids and families.”
The facility will have two exam rooms and space for mental health therapy, Doughty said.
However, most of the space will be devoted to a pair of large rooms earmarked for early childhood education.
Initially, the new clinic will serve only Logan students. “Then hopefully we can have longer hours,” Doughty said.
The facility is envisaged as the second of three major health initiatives led by the district. Two years ago, it partnered with CHAS Health to build a comprehensive health clinic at Rogers High School.
And down the road, it hopes to work with the city of Spokane to build a youth behavioral health program at one of its high schools.
The city has allocated $3 million toward those programs and according to district documents has “interest in housing the clinic at a high school.”
Doughty emphasized on Tuesday that those discussions are in the early stages. However, Doughty is scheduled to discuss the Logan project and the potential city partnership during a special meeting of the school board Wednesday night.
According to Doughty, there were “many reasons” why Logan was selected for the clinic. “
“There’s a lot of need, and a lot of great community partners who want to serve these families,” she said.
Doughty noted that in-school clinics are common on the West Side of the state.
“It’s unique that we are the only district in Eastern Washington to have two or maybe three clinics,” she said.
Schools Superintendent Adam Swinyard said that access to health care is important for learning.
He also noted the scarcity of quality early learning facilities in Spokane, which has contributed to below-average levels of kindergarten readiness in district schools.
“We know that kindergarten readiness is a critical factor to success, that’s going to lead to a student reaching their potential,” Swinyard said.
An earlier version of this story misstated the location of the entrance to Logan Elementary.