The Perham-Dent School Board is moving forward with a professional assessment of the condition of the district’s school buildings.

The board voted at a special meeting March 6 to continue working with ICS Consulting, a move that will allow ICS to move ahead with the first two phases of its project outline, which was detailed at a previous school board meeting.

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Those phases are “research and process planning” and “study.”

Ultimately, the school board is hoping to determine whether a new high school is in the district’s future, or if a remodel of the existing building is possible.

“First thing we want to do before deciding to remodel or build is assess our buildings,” said Superintendent Mitch Anderson after the special meeting.

The first phase of the project should begin this spring. In addition to assessing the current condition of the buildings, ICS will work to identify other needs the district has in relation to its facilities.

Anderson said he thinks it is best to find out whether the high school building is structurally and mechanically feasible to remodel, or if some needs at other district buildings should be addressed first.

“This information will provide a baseline of facility needs and associated costs for consideration by the task force,” said a proposal letter sent to the school by ICS.

In the “study” phase, a community task force will be formed to go over the district’s needs, building conditions, finances and costs, and to come up with suggestions for plans of action. This should be complete by summer.

“I like that they’re coming in as unbiased third parties,” said Anderson of the task force. “It will be driven by the community, not straight from the district (administration).”

The exact size of the group has not been determined yet, but the plan is to make an open call for members. ICS and the district have not yet settled on a dollar amount to be paid for these two phases.