Widefield School District 3 is among a growing number of Colorado districts that are adding free employee health clinics with the goal of lowering health care costs and promoting wellness.

The 9,300-student district southeast of Colorado Springs opened its employee clinic inside a multi-use district building on July 9, with an open house scheduled for August 12. The clinic, open Monday through Friday, will provide free acute care, screenings, wellness coaching and prescriptions for around 700 employees covered by the district’s health plan, as well as their families.

The goal is to help employees suffering from basic illness like sinus infections or allergies get treated quickly and conveniently, said Samantha Briggs, Widefield’s director of communication. In addition, the clinic will provide school physicals to children of covered employees and wellness coaching on topics like weight loss and stress management.

“This in no way replaces anyone’s primary doctor,” she said.

Several Colorado districts have added employee health clinics in the last couple years, including the Mesa County Valley 51 and Steamboat Springs districts in 2012, and Poudre School District in 2013.

Briggs said the new clinic was first envisioned 10 years ago and has been in the works for the last four to five. The district’s partners include its health insurance company, CEBT, and Marathon Health, the Vermont-based company that will staff the clinic.