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The PACC is on track — Perham Area Community Center construction to be done by end of year

Construction on the PACC started in March 2021, and after over a year, it is on track to be completed by the end of 2022.

The front of the PACC, including the parking lot, are in the process of being torn up and redone.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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PERHAM — Construction began on the Perham Area Community Center over a year ago, and it's just about done. In fact, it's on track for completion by the end of 2022, as previously stated by PACC Executive Director Leigh Shebeck .

The second floor, which the PACC is prioritizing for completion, will even be done prior to the end of the year.

"They're hoping (for the second floor to be done) by mid-October," Shebeck said, though there's no concrete timeline for it. "The push is to get this done."

On the second floor, what Shebeck calls the "elevator room" is currently in the works. This space will hold cardio equipment particularly popular with senior citizens, as it's close to the elevator and stairs for accessibility purposes. New bathrooms have also been added to the second floor, which also improves accessibility.

The cardio and fitness equipment sit for use on the second floor in the PACC's new addition. Once the space near the elevator is complete, equipment popular with area seniors will be moved into that room.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Off of the elevator space is a new fitness studio and then a private consultation room for body fat testing and private planning for fitness and dietary needs, which are both still under construction themselves. Next to them is the current fitness studio/old spin studio, which will go back to being the spin studio once construction on the second floor is complete and all equipment can be moved. The new studio space will get entirely new equipment.


Next, you can enter the new cardio area, which is off the side of the old but slightly revamped walking track. This entire space didn't exist prior to construction, Shebeck said.

"You'd be outside," he explained. "All of the cardio equipment is new. It was delivered the day the government shut us down in 2020. We had the footprint, so we knew exactly how much room we had and ordered ahead of time."

The new free-weight space in the PACC is spacious with large windows to bring in the outdoor light.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Downstairs, below the cardio space, is the new free-weight area, which is spacious and bright with large windows. Both of these areas were completed at the beginning of summer 2022.

The community was very involved when it came to the decisions made throughout the construction process, Shebeck said. There will also be an outdoor workout space available once construction is complete.

"The PACC staff and board didn't pick any of this," Shebeck said of the design of the brand new areas. "We have a fitness community … that all got together and said, 'Here's what we want. Here's the equipment we want. Here's how it's going to lay out.' So they put all that stuff together, and then we (the PACC) figured it out."

This is also how the design of the brand new kids' playland, called Adventureland, was chosen. A group of moms picked the colors and design and then came back to the PACC and gave them a list of three choices. The committees, staff and board of directors picked the final design.

The kids' Adventureland is almost complete, and Shebeck hopes for it to be open by the end of September 2022.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Adventureland is located where the back door of the PACC used to be, which now has a new and complete back entrance. This new back entrance will only be for those with 24/7 access once the front desk space is complete. There will be no member services in the back, only at the front.

"It'll be a change for Perham residents," Shebeck said. "Because of what's going on in the world, we advised with the (police department), the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department, the SWAT team and all that." It was determined that having one entrance at the front was the safest option for members and staff.


Adventureland, which is also located near a party and community room that can be rented by community members, is for kids from toddler ages to 12 years old. Someone 18 or older has to be with the kids in the Adventureland at all times.

It will be free for members, and non-members will be able to buy a day pass. They will have certain set times for parties, so if a kid has a party at Adventureland, it will be closed to everyone except the party-goers. While the equipment has settled into its space, some more work needs to be done with the paint and windows. Shebeck hopes for it to be open by the second half of September or the first half of October.

The front entrance of the PACC is now being torn up and prepared for remodeling.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

There was going to be a climbing wall next to Adventureland, but during construction, workers discovered that the blocks making up the wall were hollow. This means that nothing can be hung from the wall, so that space will be utilized as a sitting area instead.

The building also looks entirely different outside, with the parking lot all torn up. Inside, the front entrance is also bare as it gets torn up for remodeling. Because of this, parking is located at the back of the building off Fox Street, and the back entrance is serving as the main entrance until the front is complete. The PACC doesn't have a direct timeline, but it's on track to be done by the end of 2022.

The new therapy pool, located toward the front of the building, will be completed around the same time. As of right now, however, it's taking shape off of the finished aquatic center. The therapy pool will be available for certain classes and physical therapy, and they've even added a six-foot pit on one end for taller folks hoping to use the pool.

The therapy pool, located toward the front of the PACC, is taking shape.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

To follow the PACC's construction progress, go to perhamareacommunitycenter.net/pacc-remodel/ . They can be reached at 218-346-7222 or frontdesk@perhamareacommunitycenter.net.

The community center funds different programming, memberships and scholarships through the PACC Foundation. To make a donation, visit perhamareacommunitycenter.net/the-pacc-foundation-donate . For more information about the foundation, contact Shebeck at 218-346-7222 or director@perhamareacommunitycenter.net.

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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