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Task force tours Kids’ Adventure, enters final stage

After completing their final facility tour, the Perham-Dent School District planning task force began working on establishing priorities for its proposal to the school board.

First, nine community members toured the Kids’ Adventure early childhood building to get a better idea of what adjustments might be helpful or needed for the space.

Security is a concern, said Superintendent Mitch Anderson as he led the tour. There is no P.A. system to warn the building’s occupants if a lockdown is needed. Instead, the warning would need to be given in person to each room.

Anderson said the number of doors and windows also creates challenges for lockdown procedures, when students are supposed to be hidden from sight.

“It’s not a real welcoming environment,” Anderson added as the group stood in the hallway by the front door. Without an  entryway, he said, parents coming and going tend to get bunched up by the main door.

The building also does not have a kitchen where students’ meals can be prepared. Instead, lunch is brought over from the high school cafeteria by a staff member.

“Is that the best we can do? Golly,” said one community member after the tour.

Another member remarked on the inefficient location, as the building is disconnected from other school buildings.

“The parking is a nightmare, it’s almost as bad as the elementary school” said a woman who is often at the building. “There is no direction. People are just running, dropping their kids off, picking their kids up.”

She added that the roof has had leaking issues in the past.

After the early childhood building discussion, the group turned its attention to prioritizing observed deferred maintenance items from the three main district buildings in the context of a 10-year plan for everything from ceiling tiles to plumbing.

 “The overall picture of this is not necessarily to solve one problem,” said Ryan Hoffman, one of the consultants from ICS Consulting who has been assisting the task force. “It’s to create a long-term plan. So you have to look at all the different facets of all the buildings and agree that ‘this’ is the direction that you feel the board needs to go.”

“It needs to be all-encompassing instead of a simple solution solving the problems of right now,” Hoffman added.

The next task force meeting will be on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Perham High School student union. During the following meetings, the task force will begin to form its recommendations for the school board and decide what projects should take priority based on funding and other factors.

Community members from throughout the Perham-Dent School District are encouraged to attend and contribute to the discussion and process.