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High school health center dedication scheduled for Dec. 1

It was nearly two years ago that the Sunnyside School District gave the go-ahead to seek grant funding for a new student health center.

At the school board's December 2010 meeting Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole proposed the idea of applying for grant funding, noting there are many health-related problems facing students in the school district.

He said the school district wanted to team with Sunnyside Community Hospital to provide a health clinic to fill in the gaps in student health services.

A $500,000 federal grant was awarded to the school district and hospital in July 2011, and plans for the health center commenced.

This past summer it was decided a building located between the main building at Sunnyside High School and the football field would be well-suited to serve as a health clinic. The building has undergone remodeling and has been retrofitted to serve in its new capacity.

Saturday, Dec. 1, a dedication ceremony will be held at the new John Hughes Student Health Center, named in honor of the school district's former drug and alcohol treatment counselor and administrator. Hughes died on Jan. 31 of this year and a memorial fund for health programs within the district was established in his honor.

The dedication will take place at 11 a.m. on Dec. 1, and the public is invited to attend, according to Executive Services Director Curtis Campbell of the Sunnyside School District.

He said members of the Sunnyside School Board, city council, hospital board, Sen. Jim Honeyford, and Representatives Bruce Chandler and David Taylor have all been invited to attend the event.

"The Sunnyside School District will move its mental health and substance abuse programs into the center after the New Year," said Campbell, stating students will early in 2013 be able to seek out services offered in the student health center.

"We are still developing the medical programs that will be offered through our partnership with Sunnyside Community Hospital, but at this point we anticipate they will at least offer immunizations, sports physicals and medical check-ups," he continued.

Campbell said the goal is to establish the types of programs that will be offered at the new health center in time for the 2013-14 school year.

Meanwhile, those attending the dedication ceremony on Dec. 1 can get a first-hand look of all the work that has been completed at the center and see what the facility looks like.

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