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‘Our kids deserve way better’: Task force holds first meeting, tours PHS

A grand total of 13 parents, educators and community members attended the first Perham-Dent School District task force meeting on June 25.

Those who attended toured Perham High School from top to bottom in order to get a feel for the building’s condition and possible work needed in the future.

“The nicest space was the student union,” said one attendee.

“It’s like a maze,” said another of the layout, which has had six additions since the original structure was built in 1915.

Other areas critiqued were the main entrance, science lab and the basement.

“To my overall feeling, it was depressing,” said a third community member. “Depressing from the standpoint that it doesn’t lend itself to education. It gave me a sense of ‘what is this building for?’”

“If you’re looking at something in today’s society,” the person continued, “that you want to build up somebody’s personality, want to build up their enthusiasm… this doesn’t do that.”

“I was just thinking our kids deserve way better than this,” said a fourth.

Positive notes made by the attendees were the quality of work put into the terrazzo flooring in parts of the building and the sturdy feeling in the original, three-story portion of the structure.

In all, the group in attendance seemed to agree that the future delivery of education should be a key factor in deciding on a course of action to recommend.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson was not at the meeting, but said he had hoped at least 20 people would have been present.

When the Pelican Rapids district began holding similar task force meetings through the same consulting firm, about 70 people attended the first one, said Anderson at the June school board meeting. That number eventually dwindled down to a core of 20 people.

All residents of the district are encouraged to attend. Presence at all of the meetings is not mandatory, but suggested, so attendees have the broadest understanding of the issues at hand.

The next meeting of the task force will be held on Wednesday, July 9 at 6 p.m. at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School.