Make a Plan for Building, Purchasing, or Renovating the Necessary Facilities
You will need to think carefully about where health services will be provided at the school. Mental health services need only very basic facilities: it is important to have a private, soundproof space, preferably with a phone line—but typically there are no other facilities requirements for mental health. Medical and oral health services need more complex facilities and equipment. Ultimately, facilities design must reflect your school’s health services program.
School health services are housed in a wide variety of spaces, ranging from converted classrooms to on-site portables to buildings near the school. Some schools are not able to build a fixed site and therefore have services delivered from a mobile van or using telehealth technology. As you begin to think about facilities, an important first step is to reach out to district administration and facilities personnel. Also, community health partners are typically knowledgeable about facilities requirements and can help schools and school districts make a plan for building, purchasing, renovating and equipping the necessary facilities.
While some school health facilities require substantial capital investment others are much more affordable. School health centers can seek federal, state and local funding, including: federal grants for school health center equipment/facilities; school modernization or new construction grants; local bond measures with school construction project allocations; community development block grants; and facilities grants to community clinics and hospitals. Joint-use agreements between cities and school districts can also open up space for school health centers.
The California School Health Centers Association’s (CSHC) toolkit, From Vision to Reality: How to Build a School Health Center from the Ground Up has tips/tools, including floor plans.
Key Stakeholders to Engage in Facilities Planning
- District Facilities Managers
- School Health Personnel
- Relevant Staff from Medical, Mental, and Oral Health Agencies