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Building on the future: Perham school board gets construction update, discusses safety

The Great Hall at the new Perham High School where students will eat has the wood beams installed and is waiting for the floor to be pored. (Kim Brasel/FOCUS).1 / 4
The Career Tech/Shop Space will see more progress as weather permits. (submitted photo).2 / 4
Classroom spaces have paint on the walls and are on their way to looking finished. (submitted photo).3 / 4
Construction continues on the new Perham High School. This view from the observation deck overlooks the gym floor. (sumbitted photo). 4 / 4

Board by board, nail by nail, Perham's new high school is beginning to take shape.

Jeff Flettre, project manager with ICS Consulting for the high school construction project, gave an update on the project during the latest school board meeting.

Flettre said inside walls have not been built yet at the Career Tech Building, but weather permitting they will be able to get things started on that part of the project.

In the education wing, painting is being done on first and second floors in addition to ceiling grids being installed, and tile is being installed in the bathrooms. Overall, Flettre said it is looking much more finished. In the B wing walls in kitchen area are being built and Flettre said they hope to pore the floor in great hall by the end of next week, which will be the last major floor to be poured.

He added that in the gym, the crew has the metal all welded on the track floor, locker rooms painted, the band and choir rooms, are all drywalled and taped, and the office areas will be also be taped soon. Overall, he added you can get a feel for room sizes now if you walk through it.

Talking safety

The Perham School board met Wednesday night, and topics on the agenda included school security, the school calendar for next year, reports from the principals, and an update on the high school construction.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson discussed that with the Minnesota Legislature in session and school safety a hot topic right now, the governor, house and senate all have proposals asking for dollars for physical changes to buildings and for mental health staffing.

Anderson said he feels good about the security for the entries of the school buildings.

Anderson also talked about A.L.I.C.E. training, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. He explained that he has met with Perham Police Chief Jason Hoaby, who has gone through A.L.I.C.E. training, and that they will be looking at training for staff.

A.L.I.C.E. training differs from previous training in that lockdown is only one component, and it also teaches trainees to be more aware of their surroundings no matter where they are.

Anderson shared the 2018-2019 school calendar. The board approved the calendar, the start date for the 2018 school year is Tuesday September 4, and the last day of the school year is Friday May 24, 2019.

Heart of the Lakes Elementary School Principal Jen Hendrickson reported that the school's raffle ticket fundraiser was very successful. Students and families sold 13,881 tickets and raised about $15,000. The funds raised will go to additional playground equipment and fencing for the playground, along with books and supplies for classrooms.

Prairie Wind Middle School Principal Scott Bjerke informed the board that the dates for summer school will be May 30-June 21. He said they needed to move the date to June because of anticipated remodeling projects being done, and he added that summer school will be moved to the high school due to construction.

Bjerke added he would like to bring in a speaker to talk to the students about keeping technology positive and healthy. The speaker is from the Minnetonka school district and would give three separate presentations, one targeted for seventh and eighth graders, the second for ninth and tenth, and the third for eleventh graders and seniors.

Bjerke said the discussions will center around cyberbullying and harassment, the cyber blueprint students leave online, and could include a presentation for parents at Calvary Church.

Bjerke also talked about sending out surveys to parents to find out how the middle school can improve parent participation in parent-teacher conferences. He said he realizes technology makes it easier for parents to keep up with grades online; however, he believes there is still value in face-to-face contact with teachers.