By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News
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The free open house will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the center at 921 E. Hammond St.
At 2 p.m., a special program will present architect Roy Hellwig's latest computer-generated “fly through” of the proposed new building, said Michael Smith, executive director of the senior center.
Hellwig, of Tormod Hellwig LLC of Sequim, recently estimated the cost of the new center to be built on a 5.8-acre tract on Washington Harbor Loop near Simdars Road. The site is near the Washington Street exit off U.S. Highway 101.
The land, which is within the city limit and has all utilities in place, has been purchased for $261,000, Smith said.
The bulk of the money was donated by 86-year-old Sequim resident R. Leo Shipley, for whom the center, a private nonprofit, is named.
Earlier this year, Shipley also donated his 51-space mobile home park, Baywood Village, to Sequim Senior Services to benefit its nonprofit operations and to help toward its goal of a new center.
The center is just now forming a capital campaign committee to raise funds for construction, said Smith, who emphasized that the cost estimate is preliminary and that bids could come in lower.
Smith said the center — which has about 1,600 members, with nearly 300 using it weekly — has outgrown its present site, which is a former warehouse.
“Between 2005 and 2008, we increased the activity hours in the building by 2½ times,” from about 70 hours per week to about 170 hours, Smith said.
That trend has continued.
“The schedule is getting tighter so that we almost don't have room for a new activity,” he said.
The new two-story building is planned to include a gymnasium with an upper walking track, a cafe, locker room, arts facilities, a computer lab, a music room and an expanded meeting room.
The center's present meeting room can hold 120 people, Smith said. The new one will accommodate 192 people for dining and probably 300 for assembly, he added.
It also will have more onsite parking, with 160 spaces planned.
The present center's parking lot has 68 spaces, with an overflow lot across the street for 40 cars.
“People have to cross the street after parking there,” Smith said. “The parking lot and building need to be on the same piece of land.”
The open house Tuesday will offer more than an update on construction plans.
Activity demonstrations, such as Wii Bowling, table games, computers and exercise classes are planned, along with entertainment and refreshments.
Volunteer instructors will be available to answer questions.
Visitors also can take tours of the center and receive free information about community resources for seniors.
Door prizes donated by local merchants will be available in a free drawing. Each participant will get five free chances to win.
Margaret Cox, past president of the board of directors, and Rena Blank, board secretary, are the organizers of this year's open house.
The center is an independent nonprofit that is funded “98½ percent” by private donations, membership dues and activity fees, Smith said.
Its annual budget is $385,000.
Annual membership is $40 for one person or $70 a couple, he said.
Free memberships for low-income seniors — funded by grants from the city of Sequim, the Haller Foundation, the Halloran Foundation and others — are available.
For more information, phone 360-683-6806 or visit www.sequimseniorcenter.org.
Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.