The building that formerly housed the Olympic Skate Center on West Seventh Street in Port Angeles has been purchased by Northwest Kidney Centers. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The building that formerly housed the Olympic Skate Center on West Seventh Street in Port Angeles has been purchased by Northwest Kidney Centers. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Northwest Kidney Centers buys Olympic Skate Center in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Northwest Kidney Centers has bought the shuttered Olympic Skate Center with plans to raze the building and construct a new dialysis facility in its place by 2020, officials at the Seattle-based nonprofit said Wednesday.

Sandra Locke’s sale of the 707 S. Chase St. land and the 11,200-square-foot skating rink building for $442,500 was recorded at the Clallam County Auditor’s Office on Dec. 5, just four days after skaters went round and round on the smooth floor for the last time.

Within the next one to three years, Northwest Kidney Centers will sell its cramped dialysis facility at 809 Georgiana St. and build a larger facility where the rink offered family fun for about four decades, company officials from Seattle and Port Angeles said.

“The staff, as well as me and the patients, are all very happy we are getting the roller rink, but absolutely, it’s kind of sad to have to see a historic building going away,” Northwest Kidney Centers’ Port Angeles nurse-manager Kathy Lilienthal said Wednesday.

Port Angeles is home to one of Northwest Kidney Center’s 15 facilities, most of which are in King County.

The Clallam County facility, on Georgiana Street since 1999, shares building space with Angeles Vision Clinic.

After nearly 20 years at the site, it’s time to move, Northwest Kidney Centers spokeswoman Linda Sellers said.

“We have not begun planning what the building would look like or done any of the thinking about it other than to acknowledge that the facility on Georgiana is too crowded and the storage space has kind of grown inadequate, and there is not enough parking and not enough patient capacity.”

“For a lot of reasons, we need to find a different spot.”

She said she did not expect the staff to increase once the move is made, but that patient capacity will increase from 54 patients to 60.

“As long as people continue to need dialysis, which we wish was not the case, it will be good to be able to get treatment in a new, modern, state-of-the-art facility,” Sellers said.

There are 42 patients who currently utilize the clinic three times a week in addition to 11 patients whose in-home dialysis is supervised by Northwest Kidney Centers, she said.

The new clinic will have expanded facilities for training people to administer their own dialysis treatments and for patients’ kidney health education, Sellers said.

Northwest Kidney Centers, founded in 1962, offers outpatient dialysis centers at 15 locations in King and Clallam counties and operates a dialysis museum and kidney research institute in Seattle.

Locke, who was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, reminisced about the sale of her skating rink Wednesday afternoon after returning home from a four-hour chemotherapy treatment in Sequim.

This past weekend was the first weekend that Locke, 75, has not owned the rink in 23 years, and she worked every weekend.

She said she misses running the rink and giving young people a healthful, active alternative in their free time.

“It was just part of my life,” she said of her rink duties.

Locke said in an earlier interview that attendance had declined and the business had become more difficult to operate.

“I’m out from under it, but I have so much going on in my life now that it’s really hard,” she said Wednesday. “I’m tired.

“I just want to sleep all the time.”

She said her cancer has encroached into her lymph nodes but has not spread to her bones.

“They are trying to shrink it, and then hopefully they can remove it,” she said of the invader.

“I’m tough, I’m ornery, so I’ll lick it.”

Locke said she expects eventually to move closer to family in Kent.

But she was hoping when she sought a buyer that the Port Angeles Senior Center, owned by the city but run by a citizens’ board, would take over the skating rink and operate it for seniors and as a skating rink for young people.

Senior Center Manager D Bellamente said Wednesday center officials had considered turning the rink into a health and fitness annex for pickleball, billiards and kids’ skating programs.

But the senior center board was unwilling to get involved in the fundraising and volunteer management responsibilities that such a project would require.

“We did not approach the city in a serious fashion” about purchasing the rink, Bellamente said.

Now the property’s future lies in expanding life-giving dialysis services to several dozen of the 1,700 dialysis patients served by Northwest Kidney Centers.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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