During an April 13 visit, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley speaks about $1 million in federal funding she helped secure for a new community health center in Randolph.

The town of Randolph will soon start construction on a new community health center at its high school, bringing medical services to residents and bridging a health care gap that has affected the community for years.

On April 13, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley came to Randolph to announce $1 million in federal funding, part of a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package that President Joe Biden signed in March. The $1 million will cover construction costs for the center, which is expected to open in 2023.

Local officials say the facility, which will be run by Dorchester-based Codman Square Health Center, will provide badly needed pediatric services to Randolph, with the goal of eventually expanding services to more age groups. The town of 35,000 residents currently doesn’t have any pediatric health care options within its borders, a problem that this new center will help alleviate, officials said.

“This is a huge step forward for the Randolph community,” said Town Manager Brian Howard. “This is one of the key initiatives that we had. … We are truly committed to making sure that we can provide access to health care to every person that lives in Randolph, and make it easily accessible, affordable and welcoming.”

The community, a majority of whom are people of color, has long been underserved by the medical system. This problem came into sharper view during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Randolph ranked third for a time among Massachusetts communities for COVID infections.

“As we look ahead, we must ensure that communities like Randolph are made front and center in our recovery efforts,” Pressley said during her Randolph visit. “That means ensuring that Randolph students and families have the resources they need not just to survive this ongoing crisis, but also to thrive.”

In recent years, several factors brought the project to fruition. Since 2018, Randolph had been working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission on a community health assessment, which resulted in a January 2020 report that highlighted, among other things, the need for a community health care partner. Last year, Codman Square Health Center reached out to Randolph to collaborate on a school-based health center, according to Planning Director Michelle Tyler. Around the same time, she said, Pressley’s office asked about Randolph’s needs for the federal community projects funding.

The $1 million is expected to fully cover the renovations to incorporate the new center at the high school. Codman Square will fund the medical operations through grants, insurance payments and other sources, Tyler said, though Randolph will likely cover some expenses, such as utility costs.

Once completed, the new 1,500-square-foot center will include four examination rooms, lab space, an administrative area, a meeting space and bathrooms, Tyler said. It will have two separate entrances, through the school and directly to the outside. Initially, Randolph anticipates that residents ages 3 through 24 will receive services there.

Staffing levels haven’t been finalized, Tyler said, but a Department of Public Health grant being sought by Codman Square would require a full-time primary care provider, a full-time behavioral health specialist and a full-time community health worker to connect higher-need families with health insurance programs, food benefits and other non-medical services. The center will offer vaccinations, annual wellness exams and physicals, and mental health services.

Randolph officials said they hope to expand the center’s services and eventually transform it into a full federally qualified health care center that serves all ages. Tyler said community input will continue to drive the process.

“This isn’t the town hall making a decision, or the school making a decision,” Tyler said. “It truly has been a collaboration.”

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