By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“It’s really great to be a part of this community,” said Taylor McDonald, director of the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, or SARC.
“They’ve really been supportive of this facility.”
The SARC quarter-century party will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the complex at 610 N. Fifth Ave.
General admission to SARC’s Community Appreciation Day, which features open access to the facility, will be $1 per person.
Those younger than 8 will be admitted free of charge.
In addition to the swimming pools and a water slide, SARC provides a wide variety of workout rooms.
“I love it here. This is a great way to stay in shape,” said Pat Connors, 66, as he was waiting for competitors in one of SARC’s racquetball courts.
Chuck Sullivan said he likes to come in to give his muscles a workout in the 5,000-square-foot weight room, which features a vast array of muscle-building machines.
“It’s really a great workout room,” Sullivan said.
What comes for SARC in the next 25 years — wave pools, rock walls or indoor tracks — is anybody’s guess.
“The possibilities are endless,” McDonald said.
SARC opened in 1988 with a $2 million bond that was paid off in 2004.
Since the original construction, SARC has had two major expansions.
Since 2003, SARC has remained open with only the fees from users and no tax funding.
To support operations, the public facility’s board of directors has tapped reserve funds to cover the six-figure annual difference between operating costs and membership dues.
They may consider asking residents of the special SARC taxing district, which has the same boundaries as the Sequim School District, for an operating levy in the next couple years as those reserve funds dwindle, McDonald said.
“This is an interesting year. We’ve gone to a kind of a bare-bones model over the last two years,” McDonald said.
To cut costs, SARC has eliminated most of its programming staff.
The facility now employs 53 people as lifeguards, fitness instructors, custodians and maintenance staff.
But, McDonald said, with the duties of SARC staff limiting its ability to schedule special classes or tournaments, members have volunteered to put on their own special events.
“We’ve got a lot of really cool people in our community,” McDonald said.
“There’s a lot of creative people here who have no problem leading.”
The SARC board of commissioners has five seats.
Currently serving are Chairwoman Susan Sorensen, Melinda Griffith, Jan Richardson and Gil Goodman.
Bob Macaulay stepped down last month for personal reasons. The board was interviewing four candidates for appointment this week and will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at the SARC facility to consider naming a board member, McDonald said.
For more information about SARC, phone 360-683-3344 or visit www.sarcfitness.com/node/1.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.