City DopeNews

CCSD Opens New Health Clinic at Alps Road Elementary

Photo credit: Blake Aued

It’s been quietly seeing patients for the past two months, but the Clarke County School District held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for a new health clinic at Alps Road Elementary School. Temporarily situated in a mobile building outside Alps, but the new Clarke Middle School next door will include a permanent space for the clinic. Construction on the new school is scheduled to start in January, and it’s expected to open in fall of 2024. 

The clinic is currently open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, Tuesday mornings and all day Thursday, although hours are eventually expected to expand, said Suzanne Lester, a professor of family medicine at the Augusta University/UGA medical partnership and director of the Athens Mobile Free Clinic. It’s currently focused on seeing students, staff and their families at Alps and Clarke Middle, although that could expand as well with more hours.

UGA President Jere Morehead’s Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program provided $100,000 in funding for the clinic, which will be staffed by students from the medical partnership, law school, Mary Frances Early College of Education and College of Family and Consumer Sciences, supervised by professors. Law students will be on hand to help address the underlying causes of health problems—for example, a leaky roof a landlord refused to fix that resulted in a student coming down with pneumonia, said Peter Rutledge, dean of the law school. Education students will provide bilingual services to Hispanic families, dean Denise Spangler said.

The clinic is similar to one that CCSD partnered with the Athens Neighborhood Health Center to open at Hilsman Middle School in 2019, with one key difference, Lester said: The Clarke Middle clinic does not bill anyone, not even insurance companies. All services are free.