Photo by Barbie Porter
Perham Area Community Club Executive Director Leigh Shebeck encourages all to consider visiting the PACC facilities to serve their workout needs. 

By Barbie Porter


The Perham Area Community Center has positioned itself to roll into the post-COVID-19 era with an upgraded facility that will better serve communities in the surrounding area.

“The project has been worked on the past three-to-four years,” said Leigh Shebeck, PACC executive director, who expects the work will begin in April, depending on weather. The bids were set to be opened mid-March. 

The renovations are major changes that will bring plenty of opportunities for getting in shape, and having fun while doing it. A game changer for parents may be the play land. The supervised area affords parents the opportunity to get exercise while their kids burn off energy, or to have toddlers socialize under the watchful eyes of caretakers.

While the renovations are yet to come, now is as good time as any to consider getting a membership. The community-oriented non-profit facility was seeing its highest membership numbers ever last year, and plans for renovations were in the works. Then, COVID-19 struck and the facility was forced to close as well as reduce occupancy.

“We are operating at 60 percent compared to pre-COVID,” he said, noting in June 2020 it was the first time the membership of the facility dropped to 45 percent, as many canceled or put the membership on hold.  

Shebeck said now that the restrictions are loosening, the facility is seeing an uptick in customers returning, eager to get back to their workout routine.  

Those that put on extra pounds, which is already being dubbed the quarantine 15 by some, may also want to take into consideration the upgrades about to take place at the PACC before deciding what gym to join.

Shebeck gave a tour of the renovation plans, which start at the entrance. The area will be expanded and the front desk area will be moved to make room for a commons area. A pool party room for those birthday extravaganzas or just a fun way to wipe away the winter doldrums or summer heat will be offered.

The fieldhouse located near the current front entrance offers basketball courts that convert to pickleball courts on weekdays from 8-11 a.m. 

Shebeck said the fieldhouse will remain untouched, for the most part.

A bit down the hall from the lobby is the pool. The pool will be receiving a new air handler system and lights. 

In the same area as the pool are workout rooms. Currently, there are separate locker rooms for the pool and non pool users. The new locker rooms will consolidate the two locker rooms into one. There will be a section in the lock room for those utilizing the pool, as well as direct access to the pool.

Parents may also be thrilled to hear about the enormous play land and child watch area addition. There will be a lobby entrance and waiting room leading into the activity area that will offer plenty of fun to feed the imagination, but with adequate supervision. Shebeck said the play land will be bigger than the one offered at the community club in Detroit Lakes.  The area will be enclosed in glass, so walkers and runners will be able to watch the children play as they complete laps around the track. 

The track also follows the sideline of a larger gym in the back portion of the facility. The gym has scheduled roller skating nights, and a party room is being added for those interested in renting the space for a fun night of skating. A climb wall will also be installed in that area.

In the weight lifting area, new equipment is being added as is a fitness studio. Shebeck said classes offered by the PACC are included in a membership, but there are outside instructors that rent space at the facility to teach martial arts or dance. Those fees are decided upon with the instructor and are separate from the PACC. 

However, renovations will provide additional space to offer those classes, as well as the opportunity for the PACC to expand on its class opportunities. 

To inquire about memberships, which includes a 24/7 access option for those 16 and older, contact the PACC at (218) 346-7222 or stop by 620 3rd Avenue SE Perham, MN between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays or on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Sunday from 12-4 p.m.