An excited school community in Walker County is welcoming a new health care facility with open arms. Primary Healthcare Centers has served northwest Georgia for almost 40 years.  Officials say an expansion to a community school site makes sense, especially in Lafayette, an area designated by the federal government as medically underserved.  The new school-based community health care clinic and mobile dental unit will fill a void.

Walker County Superintendent Damon Raines said, "What you have in the Lafayette area is that people have to travel to other areas, and now we have an option right here close in this community."

School-based health centers provide immediate care when classroom illnesses pop up, helping children stay in school. It also allows parents to stay at work, while their child gets health care.

Raines said, "A lot of folks, it becomes a daylong event, trying to get off work, so we needed a school based health center and this is the first in Walker County."

Coupled with a mobile dental unit, the new Gilbert community health clinic can help kids for sure, but will also provide services to family members of Gilbert students, as well as other nearby residents.

PHC chief executive officer Diana Allen said, "School based clinics are focused primarily on the students, but this is also open to parents, siblings, and the whole community."

The Gilbert facility is the second PHC school based health care facility in north Georgia, along with Tiger Creek Elementary in Catoosa County.  New patients are welcome, and the clinic accepts private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.  Low income, or uninsured individuals are charged on a sliding scale.