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School district entering one-year agreement with PACC

Members of the Perham-Dent School Board and staff members met for the first time Wednesday in the Perham Senior High Media Center. An open house of the new facility is set for Aug. 26. Brian Hansel/FOCUS

The Perham-Dent School Board took up new quarters in a sun-drenched Media Center last Wednesday night at the Perham Senior High.

The new $40 million building was still under construction as the board gathered for its August meeting. Superintendent Mitch Anderson pointed out an Open House for the facility is on tap Aug. 26.

Beginning the day after Labor Day, the student body and faculty will kick off the 2018-2019 school year in a facility built for the 21st Century. They said their goodbyes to the previous high school facility, first put up in 1916, back in May.

The most important piece of new business was a new one-year agreement with the Perham Area Community Center. Anderson informed the board of a $94,500 lease agreement with the PACC, which has been providing much-needed indoor facilities for the Perham-Dent school system since it opened in 1989.

"We've always used that for phys-ed purposes and many other needs because it was right next door," Anderson said Thursday afternoon. "Obviously with us moving into the new high school we have some of the facilities—the weight room, some of the gym space. To get that new number, to determine what that new lease agreement would be, we asked them (the PACC) to find out what the cost is to use the pool, gymnasium, locker rooms, what are other community centers charging outside groups to rent or lease those spaces. That helped us to determine that number. Of that $94,500, $20,000 of that will go toward needed capital investments at the PACC. So you could say $74,500 of that is for the rent. Our last agreement (before the 2017-2018 school year) was for $135,000."

Anderson pointed out the changes the district is seeing this fall in their lease agreement with the PACC were previously discussed during campaigning for the school referendum, which built the high school. The PACC was built in 1989 after three school bond referendums had failed.

"I was still in high school down the road in Frazee," Anderson laughed. "At that time the high school was 75 or 80 years old, and there were certainly some things that were starting to become issues. They couldn't get a referendum passed for some improvements, so they got together with some city folks and some go-getters in town and said 'we need a community center in town, nobody around us has one, including Wadena, Detroit Lakes, some of the bigger cities at that time around, so let's do something for the city.'"

At the same time it tackled an issue the school was having at the time—the lack of a pool, of gym space and locker room space.

"It was certainly intentional," Anderson said. "It served many people, not just the school. There was a fundraising effort that paid for the majority of that building. That is something that some people neglect to remember. There was a capital campaign, and just about every square inch of that building was built with fund-raised dollars or gift dollars."

In addition to approving the new contract with the PACC, the board approved 2018-2019 handbooks for the high school, middle school and elementary school.

Consent items approved included letters of resignation from Karen Otremba (St. Henry's Kitchen Assistant), Richard Johnson (Elementary, Middle school Cleaner) and Mary Ann Spencer (Middle School Paraprofessional), the termination of Judy Bronson (Elementary Kitchen Assistant) and employment agreements with Maraya Haverland (Elementary Paraprofessional), Jeffrey Mosca (Middle School Paraprofessional), Suzanne Harlow (High School Kitchen Assistant), Jennifer Thompson (High School Kitchen Assistant), Melissa Lindquist (High School Activities Secretary), Mary Schmidt (Elementary Title Instructor), Tammy Detloff (Elementary Paraprofessional), Sara Harthun (High School Cook), Gail Kreager (High School Lead Cook), Jennifer Shaw (High School Kitchen Assistant) and Maria Mayfield (Elementary Paraprofessional).

The board also approved a Lakes Country Service Cooperative Agreement for Professional Development, along with an agreement with Emily Dreyer for marketing services.

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