RACINE — The health clinic planned for the Julian Thomas Elementary School basement is underway though it is still unknown whether it will be designated a Federally Qualified Health Center.

Racine’s Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said Julian Thomas, 930 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., was chosen as the location for the clinic because of its status as a community school and due to the high population of Medicaid recipients and children receiving free lunches in the 53403 and 53404 zip codes.

Federally Qualified Health Centers provide a range of health care services on a sliding fee scale for low-income families on Medicare, Medicaid or who cannot afford their insurance deductible.

Unified’s community schools offer programs such as school-based mental health services and extended learning programs. The schools also offer programs for families and adults in their neighborhoods.

With the designation comes a $650,000 federal grant and a $288,000 match from the state. Racine is the largest city in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the Midwest without one.

When the plan was first announced in May, the application had already been submitted and the city expected to know sometime in August whether its application for FQHC status had been approved.

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Later in the summer that deadline was moved back to September and now it appears the city won’t know until December.

Bowersox said should the city’s application be approved, the timeline for fully implementing the requirements of a FQHC would be be outlined and pushed into 2020.

Stacy Tapp, chief of communication and community engagement for teh Racine Unified School District, said the district plans to bring its recommendation for a general contractor to the School Board at its Oct. 21 meeting. Racine Unified has budgeted $900,000 from the district’s community service fund for the renovations.

The renovation is expected to be completed by late February or early March. With or without a FQHC designation, the city plans to open the clinic shortly after.

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Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

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