After months of planning and discussion, the public got its first look at the proposed gymnastics building.

At a special meeting Wednesday, Sept. 18, the Perham-Dent school board gave the greenlight for construction by approving a lease agreement and lease limits with the gymnastics booster program.

Before the vote, BHH Project Manager Chad Bormann presented floor plans and exterior renders. The building will be on Second Avenue Southwest across the street from Heart of the Lakes Elementary School.

The gymnastics program currently practices in the old high school’s gym. The gymnastics team needs to be moved before the PACC/HUB fit-up project can begin to demolish and renovate the old high school.

Bormann said the initial plan was to have a larger building, but he’s had to pinch the footprint of the project to meet the budget of $3.4 million.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Two-thirds of the building will be used for the PRYD gymnastics club and the Perham High School team. The remaining space will consist of locker rooms and storage for various school athletic programs.

The gymnastics side will feature a large lobby, retail area and changing rooms. The gym layout will feature “two of everything” with an emphasis on safety, Bormann said.

“We want as much as we can get; first and foremost it’s got to be safe,” Bormann said.

The gym will also seat approximately 180 to 250 people, with standing room available on a second-story catwalk.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson said the partnership between the district and the gymnastics club is similar to the original PACC model. The PACC was built in 1988 on school property, but the city owns the building.

“The difference between this arrangement and PACC is in 20 years we’ll own this building,” Anderson said.

The school is leasing the property to the gymnastics club, after the building is paid off in 20 years, the district will retain ownership of the building.

The gymnastics club is paying $2 million, while the district will pay $1.4 million for their side of the building. The district will also pay to lease the gym side during the varsity gymnastics season.

Update: Aquatics center fundraising on schedule

During a board work session, City Attorney Dennis Happel updated the board on the status of the PACC/HUB project, including the aquatics expansion. Happel said fundraising is well on its way, and he’s optimistic the funds will be raised by January.

Happel said the PACC promotes the safety and health of Perham’s residents, while retaining employees and growing the town.

“Since we built it, it’s no coincidence that 1,000 people were added to the population,” Happel said. “Including a new school, hospital and nursing home.”

After Happel’s presentation, Anderson provided an update regarding the vacancy Christi Stoll’s resignation left on the school board.

Anderson said a few people have indicated interest in filling the vacancy, including former school board members. The deadline to submit an application, letter of interest and resume is Friday, Sept. 27. The selected applicant will then serve until the next election in November. 2020.

Anderson also presented the outcomes from the district’s new strategic plan. The district’s new mission statement is “to maximize achievement and prepare all for success in a changing world.”

The district’s vision statement is “to be the district of choice that inspires innovation and excellence for all.”

The district also identified five focus areas which are: student achievement and support, academic programs, workforce and communication/marketing.