News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Construction underway at Pellston's Hornet Health Center
School-based child and adolescent health center slated to open in the spring

February is School-Based Center Awareness Month

(February 26, 2010) The Hornet Health Center in Pellston Middle/High School is under construction, funded largely with generous donations from local foundations. The Frey Foundation, Oleson Foundation, and Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation donated funds to defray construction and start-up costs not covered by the Michigan Department of Community Health.

With their $12,000 in contributions, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan--which operates the clinic--was able to acquire approximately $36,000 in matching dollars from the federal government.

"We're very grateful to all three foundations for their financial assistance. With their help, renovations at the school are coming along very well," said Pat Fralick, Director of Family & Community Health Services for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Just this week, the student committee selected paint and carpet colors."

Student involvement is very important to the success of the health center, she said.

The name "Hornet Health Center" was selected in a naming contest by students at Pellston's middle and high schools, she said.

The health center will provide primary health care and mental health services year-round (on a part-time basis) for children, adolescents and young adults age 5 through 21 from Pellston and surrounding communities. Medicaid will be accepted but there is no charge for clients with no insurance or with Blue Cross or other commercial carrier.

School-based health centers provide a critical role in improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents, Fralick said.

"Clinics like the Hornet Health Center are a great investment in our youth," she said. "Children and youth served by school-based and school-linked health centers show improved rates of school attendance, enhanced scores on standardized tests, less absenteeism due to illness, and increased immunization rates, while having their wellness and health-care needs addressed."

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information about the Hornet Health Center, visit or call Erika Van Dam at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan at 347-5832.

Pete Oleson and Sara Ward, Youth Advisory Committee Advisors, joined Linda Yaroch and Erika Van Dam of the Health Department, and Bill Tebbe, Superintendent of Pellston Public Schools, to visit the site of the Hornet Health Center, which is currently under construction in the Pellston High School building. The Community Foundation's Youth Advisory Committee, Frey Foundation and Oleson Foundation provided financial support to the project.