SWOS celebrates opening of on-campus health clinic

Students’ cold symptoms keep staff busy in first week

Keywords: Health, Public Health,
The public could take a tour of the new health clinic at Southwest Open School during the open house Friday afternoon. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

The public could take a tour of the new health clinic at Southwest Open School during the open house Friday afternoon.

Southwest Open School students and staff celebrated the completion of their new clinic, which replaced an aging modular, at a community open house Friday evening.

Students gave tours of the 1,454-square-foot building which houses two exam rooms, a nurses office, all-purpose kitchen, behavioral health office and an office for the director. It replaced a 600-square-foot modular building.

The $360,000 facility was completed June 30 and was completely grant-funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Health Foundation. Students chipped in during the first week of school to shovel the gravel for the landscaping.

At the clinic, students can receive limited primary care, dental care and mental health services, including group counseling.

In the first week of school, it was a busy place after many students came down with cold symptoms, said Kenzie Lopez a senior.

“We use it, definitely,” she said.

The clinic helps more kids stay in school by addressing issues, from reproductive health to dental care, that can distract from their studies said Sherrod Beall a former registered nurse at SWOS and the consultant on the construction.

Some students had such bad dental conditions they were embarrassed to smile, she recalled from her time at the school.

“They need more wrap-around services,” Beall said.

The clinic is the latest addition in an ongoing effort to upgrade the campus, said Jennifer Carter, the school’s director.

The school hopes to replace six more modular buildings on the campus one at time over the next 10 to 15 years. The buildings are all about 45 years old and beginning to show their age. She estimates the project will cost about $4 million.

“We believe in this vision and think we can achieve it,” she said.

The next phase for the school will be raising $350,000 to replace two classrooms. The temperature is difficult to regulate in the rooms that currently house special education and math and both are too small for the classes that they house, said Lydia Eppard, a student.

To donate, visit www.southwestopenschool.org.

Margarita Ketchum and Katy Muzzy give a tour of one of the exam rooms at the new SWOS health clinic. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Margarita Ketchum and Katy Muzzy give a tour of one of the exam rooms at the new SWOS health clinic.

Shannon Wells, the director of the SWOS Health Clinic, shows Lori Haukeness the new building for the school. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Shannon Wells, the director of the SWOS Health Clinic, shows Lori Haukeness the new building for the school.