MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students at La Vina Elementary School in Madera County could hardly contain their excitement as they waited for a closer look at what resembles a fancy tour bus.
"It's big and huge and amazing!" said Christopher Barriga, a student at the school.
But this "big bus" is actually a new mobile health care center that will serve students throughout the Madera Unified School District for many years to come.
"The special thing about this vehicle is it gives us another place to take better care of you," Dr. Rebecca Malmo, the district's Executive Director of Student an Family Support Services told students.
The wheelchair accessible unit debuted during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning. It was built using nearly $340,000 in federal grant funds. It's fully equipped to be used for vaccination clinics, vision and auditory screenings, athletic physicals, counseling sessions, and more. It can be used by school staff members, including nurses and clinicians, as well as community partners such as Camarena Health.
"It's going to meet all of the needs for the children we have here at schools such as La Vina where if we make a phone call, they'll gather all the team and they'll come, psychologists, counselors to meet the needs of the students in one bus," said Principal Jesus Navarro.
Staff members say they need the mobile center because many of the district's 26 schools do not have space for health services on campus, and some are located in rural areas where families may have a harder time traveling to care-providers.
"This is the hub so let's make sure we can bring services to them whenever it's needed," said Brooke Durrell, the MUSD Director of Health and Wellness. "We have so many schools and 21,000 students so let's meet them where they're at, and we can support the student and family as well."