February 05, 2002 11:00 pm

NORTH POWDER For the first time in many years, North Powder will soon have a health clinic that will provide medical service for community members.

Built by Powder Valley High School students and run by the Health Network for Rural Schools, the clinic at the school will have an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Were already seeing students, said Nancy Findholt, director of the Health Network for Rural Schools. Soon well be ready to see adults.

Vicki Hill Brown, nurse-practitioner at the school, said shes excited about the clinic.

I think its a great idea, a great service, she said.

Constructed by students from two high school classes, the clinic and a classroom share a building. The new location is far larger than the closet Findholt said was the clinics original home.

Its the best space we have in any of the schools, she said. Its tiny and we dont have a large extent of equipment. Its just one exam room, but theres an awful lot that can be done with one exam room.

Hill Brown, one of two nurse-practitioners visiting the rural schools, sees young patients in Cove and Elgin, as well as North Powder. Nurse-practitioner Sue Peeples visits the schools in Union and Imbler.

The nurse-practitioners deliver a full range of medical care to patients, including prescriptions. The Health Networks school nurses provide traditional nursing services and health education in the countys five rural elementary schools.

The North Powder clinic is open to students from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays.

It just makes sense that if we have a nurse-practitioner in North Powder anyway, if somebody needs a shot or a blood draw, she could do that, Findholt said.

The Health Network is working on the details that will allow the clinic to bill insurance companies and the Oregon Health Plan. Findholt said she hopes the clinic will be open to adults within a few weeks.

From Observer staff reports