In recent days, much has been put out into the public eye concerning the health center proposed to be placed in the new Weirton elementary school.
It is a project the Hancock County Board of Education has been discussing for the last several months in the hope of eventually seeing similar facilities located in many of our area schools. While health centers are becoming more common in southern West Virginia, where students aren't always in close proximity to medical care, this would be the first one in the Northern Panhandle.
Unfortunately, it appears as if there are numerous disagreements over how this particular health center should proceed. The school board, of course, wants it built along with the school, saying both Weirton Medical Center and CHANGE, Inc. have been involved in the process. Weirton Medical Center officials, however, say there has been almost no communication with them. CHANGE officials have countered that argument, saying hospital representatives had been involved in early discussions, but had pulled away in recent months. The City of Weirton, meanwhile, also has gotten involved, with officials saying they are receiving mixed information about what the center will be, who will be involved and how it will be operated. Council passed a resolution Wednesday giving the school board 30 days to present the city with all of the details.
The health of our local children is incredibly important and everything should be done to make certain they have as much care as is available, whether it be from the school nurse, visiting health professionals, an in-building care center or the local community hospital.
There is an increasing number of health concerns in today's society, and children should be able to have access to treatment while in school whether it be for a cut or scrape, the flu or a broken bone. School nurses aren't always going to be able to treat every condition out there, and it is not always possible to reach parents and arrange for transportation to another location.
We believe this center has the potential to be a great community asset if it is done properly and with the focus on our children.
Whatever the outcome is going to be, and whoever ends up involved in the center, we would urge all parties to take some time in the coming weeks to sit down and discuss the project, work out whatever problems there may be and remember who the health center is supposed to serve before it goes anywhere else.