HOPE – A first for the Hope Public School District and southwest Arkansas was celebrated by more than 100 local residents, state and local educators, and HPSD students here Tuesday with the ribbon cutting and opening of the Bobcat Clinic on the Hope High School campus.
The medical and behavioral health services clinic is the first of its kind in southwest Arkansas and the realization of a two-year effort by the HPSD and the greater Hope community, HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said.
“Today’s celebration is the culmination to two years of work,” Dr. Hart said. “Our grant team led by Assistant Superintendent Portia Jones and our clinic coordinator Mrs. Gretchen Carlton, along with our district nurse’s team, did a remarkable job in putting the grant together.”
Start-up and construction remodeling funds of $500,000 were provided through the Arkansas Department of Education as the result of the district’s application and a community-wide collaboration.
ADE School Health Services Grants Manager Brittany Rogers said the HPSD and community were to be congratulated for a unified vision.
“And, I encourage all of you and your students to use this clinic,” Rogers said.
Hart also reflected upon the support given the initiative’s development.
“Our community support throughout this project has been amazing,” Hart said. “From the conception to today, the people and families of Hope have been supportive and have been gracious with their time and resources.”
He said the individual contributions were critical to the success of the initiative.
“There are too many individuals to list them all, but please know that your gifts of time and treasure have been, and will be, put to good use,” Hart said.
The clinic will provide services for all Hope Public Schools students, teachers and staff across the district.
“If your child has not been registered with the clinic yet, please inquire with their campus principal,” Hart said. “Again, from HPS, I want to say thank you to our team and to the entire city of Hope.”
During the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting, Hope Mayor Steve Montgomery characterized the initiative as a remarkable achievement.
“This is something the whole community can be proud of,” Montgomery said. “This represents a vision that started two years ago and has come to reality.”
HPS Board Vice President Linda Haynes, representing the district’s governing board, called the facility a resource to “help students to be better and our community to be better.” Haynes said the clinic represents the best of what the entire district can become.
Clinic Coordinator Gretchen Carlton said she and the district and CABUN Rural Health Services staff were eager to repay the support shown the development of the initiative.
“We are just getting started,” Carlton said. “We have big plans ahead.”
Medical services will be provided through a partnership between Hope Public Schools and CABUN Rural Health Services, while behavioral health services will be through a partnership between HPS and Arkansas Counseling and Psychodiagnostics.
CABUN CEO Melanie Sheppard said the health services provider was pleased to collaborate with the district and the Hope community.
“This isn’t about me or us; it’s about you,” Sheppard said.
Bobcat Clinic medical services hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday throughout the year with the exception of the month of July. The clinic will close from 11-11:30 a.m. daily for lunch.
The clinic will follow the HPS calendar during the academic year, and will observe HPS holidays and special campus closure days, Carlton said.
Appointments for medical services may be made by contacting the clinic at 870-722-2733. Student patients will be assessed by a school nurse on their campus and referred to the clinic for further services.
Payments for services vary with treatment provided, and insurance or other options.
Services will include acute, chronic disease, and wellness primary care; sports physicals; dietary and nutrition consultation; case management; laboratory screenings and ordered blood testing; vaccinations; and access to Hope Community Health Center services such as x-ray services.