After months of brief discussions, Sequim City Council members voted Monday to rename the Guy Cole Mini-Convention Center the Guy Cole Events Center. City staff anticipate renting the soon-to-be-finished remodeled kitchen and the center in February after construction finishes in January. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

After months of brief discussions, Sequim City Council members voted Monday to rename the Guy Cole Mini-Convention Center the Guy Cole Events Center. City staff anticipate renting the soon-to-be-finished remodeled kitchen and the center in February after construction finishes in January. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim City Council renames convention center ‘Guy Cole Events Center’

SEQUIM — What’s in a name?

Quite a bit for Sequim City Council members in regard to Carrie Blake Park’s Guy Cole Mini-Convention Center.

In recent months, the council held brief discussions about changing the name of the 34-year-old building following significant remodeling.

However, any talk of removing community advocate Guy Cole’s name from the building was pushed aside Monday, as council members dissected the differences between community centers, convention centers and events centers as possible names.

On Monday, City Council members voted 5-0 — with Deputy Mayor Ted Miller excused — to rename the building the Guy Cole Events Center.

City Council members circled the idea of renaming it as an “events center,” but Councilman Bob Lake asked Barbara Hanna, Sequim communications and marketing director, for advice first.

She agreed with naming it an “events center” because a “community center speaks more to a parks and rec facility, and we don’t really have that capability.”

Hanna said the center will be used for such events as weddings and retirements.

“It is an events gathering place,” she said.

The remodeling includes phase II, a refurbishing of the center’s commercial kitchen by Hoch Construction of Port Angeles, slated for completion by the end of January.

City Council members — including Miller and Pam Leonard-Ray — previously spoke about keeping Cole’s name on the building he helped construct with the Sequim Lions Club in 1983.

Cole, founder of Cole’s Jewelry in Sequim, served in many capacities in the area including working as a City Council member, volunteering with the Lions and on the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s board.

Cole, his wife, Gertrude, and Lions Club members encouraged the City Council to purchase property for what would become Carrie Blake Park, wrote Judy Reandeau Stipe, executive director of Sequim Museum and Arts. She noted that Cole and the club also prompted the city to build the center, leading the Lions to match the city’s funds and volunteer to help build the center.

Before proceeding with any change, Sequim Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin said he approached Cole’s family about a possible change and they were fine with the decision so long as he’d be honored in some capacity in the building.

A 2004 resolution would have required the council to amend it in order to change the center’s name from “Guy Cole” to something else but Irvin said because his name is kept in it they can modify the words around it.

Throughout the years, locals continue to name the building many things such as leaving out the “mini” part of its name or simply calling it “Guy Cole.”

Leonard-Ray said by referring to it only by Cole’s name was confusing people.

“When we suggest renting Guy Cole, they say, ‘Rent a person?’ It didn’t make much sense,” she said.

She encouraged City Council members and staff to use its new full name to “help people know it’s a rented space rather than a person,” too.

Sequim City Manager Charlie Bush said the city will slowly roll out the new name by changing information on the city’s website and signage.

The building will not be available for renting until February, Bush said.

For more information about the Guy Cole Convention Center/Guy Cole Events Center, call 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequim wa.gov.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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