Grosse Pointe school board votes 4-3 to halt construction on health clinic

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – An emergency meeting about a hotly-debated school health clinic ends with the decision not to move forward with construction.

The idea of putting in a free health clinic at Grosse Pointe North High School has been in play since the summer of 2022.

It would be open to anyone between the age of 5 and 21 who is from the Pointes and Harper Woods. The clinic would reportedly offer free physical and mental health services.

“If this board chooses to cancel this project, it is declaring to the students who struggle with access to physical and mental healthcare that resurfacing a baseball field or paving a parking lot is more important than their needs,” said a woman to the who took the podium.

“Our school district and, therefore, our community is on the verge of receiving an amazing gift,” said another woman who took to the podium. “The gift of readily accessible, quality, no cost, physical and mental healthcare for all youth in our community.”

The district was approached by Oakwood Health, which is part of Corewell Health, to partner with this. The cost to the district is nearly $1 million out of its sinking fund to build it. Operating costs afterward would not come out of the district’s pocket. Oakwood Health would run it.

“How can you believe that spending $1 million from the sinking fund to remodel 200,000 square feet for a teen clinic is fiscally responsible given the current critical path needs of the district?” said Terrance Collins.

The district has been sent a legal threat on behalf of unnamed residents who allege using sinking funds for the clinic is legally questionable. The district’s lawyers disagree.

The question being asked Thursday (Jan. 19) is whether or not the district should halt construction and try to find a fund source that is not taxpayer dollars.

“You seem to forget that these decisions are being made with our money,” said a man speaking at the podium. “Your focus should be providing quality education to every child in the system. Any decisions outside the education goal, especially something as expensive and outside of the purview of education, should be taken to the taxpayers.”

The school board voted 4-3 to halt construction on the health clinic at Grosse Pointe North High School.

About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.