CHS to Offer Better Medical Facilities for Students

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Construction is well underway for the new addition of the Blue Devil Health Center to the technical center building. The work is being done by students of the technical center at the high school and students in various programs from Washington County Community College. (Photos by Kaileigh Deacon).

By Kaileigh Deacon

In an effort to expand services and its space, the health clinic at Calais High School is being moved and remodeled.

Since 2003, students have had the opportunity to take advantage of the onsite Blue Devil Health Center, which provides local doctors, who see to the needs of the students, offering everything from sports physicals to vaccinations. 

The health center is currently located at the nurse’s office, where the Certified Nursing Assistant Classes are taught. The room provides little space for all the activities that take place in it. The main room serves as office, reception area and classroom, while a small examination room sits just off to the side. The small space provides no privacy for student wishing to see the nurse or for students waiting to be seen by a doctor. 

School nurse and health center manager Ann Skriletz had put forth the proposal to expand the center. An addition will be made on the technical building at the far end of the school. The construction work is being done by the students of the building trades program, electricity and plumbing programs from Washington County Community College are contributing as well. 

The health center received a $109,000 grant to buy the building supplies for the construction and fully equip the facility. The health center will include two new fully equipped exam rooms as well as a reception area, a handicap accessible bathroom and an office/meeting room. 

 The idea of the new facility is to allow the current programs offered by the health center to run more efficiently. One such program is WOW, or the Working On Wellness program. This program is modeled after employee wellness programs that reward participants for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and setting achievable health goals. Students can set goals at the beginning of the month and are given a calendar to keep track of their achievements, and at the end of the month the names of the students who have completed their goals are put into a drawing for a gift card. 

“We are cost effective and can save parents an emergency room visit,” Skriletz said. 

The Health Center provides students a place to receive health care they might not otherwise have access to due to insufficient insurance coverage or no insurance at all. The health center bills most insurance companies. For those without insurance or for those who don’t have complete coverage, the fee is no more than $15 a visit. 

Students will have a voice in what services they receive — several members of the student body sit on the health center advisory board. These students will have the opportunity to give input on services and policies. 

The new health center has also allowed for other programs to be established. The school now has a peer mediation service that allows students to work with other students in conflict resolution. The students have also created a vegetable garden to grow foods for the school or sell at local venues. 

About 75% of the school population takes advantage of the health center services and 25% in the WOW program. School administrators hope that as the health center expands so will the number of students who use it.