Make a Plan for Building, Purchasing, or Renovating the Necessary Facilities
You will need to think carefully about where and what clinical services will be provided at the school. If your goal is to serve the entire community, you will want to ensure public as well as student access to the SBHC. If your primary client base will be adolescents, you will need to find a location that ensures confidentiality as well as accessibility for teen students. If your SBHC will function as a satellite or intermittent clinic, you may more easily extend your license to the SBHC, but if you plan to operate the SBHC for more than 20 hours a week, it will undergo a facility site review.
Often, schools will provide in-kind space to the health care provider to house the SBHC. Some schools may have money to help build a clinical facility within existing or new school buildings, while others will not. SBHCs are housed in a wide variety of spaces, ranging from converted classrooms to on-site portables to buildings near the school. Some providers opt to deliver services from a mobile van or using telehealth technology. As you begin to think about facilities, an important first step is to reach out to school district administration and school facilities personnel. While they will rely on your knowledge about medical and dental facilities requirements, they will be your close partners in making a plan for building, purchasing, or renovating and equipping the necessary facilities on their school campus. Ultimately, facilities design must reflect both your scope of clinical services as well as the interests of the school and your target population.
While some SBHC facilities require substantial capital investment, others are much more affordable. SBHCs can seek federal, state and local funding, including: federal grants for SBHC equipment/facilities; school modernization or new construction grants; local bond measures with school construction project allocations; and facilities grants for community clinics and hospitals. Joint-use agreements between cities, counties, and school districts can also fund SBHC construction.
From Vision to Reality: How to Build a School Health Center from the Ground Up has tips and tools, including floor plans.
Key Stakeholders to Engage in Facilities Planning
- District Facilities Managers
- School Health Personnel
- Your Own Project Planning/Clinic Construction Staff