SEQUIM — Measures are now in place to attempt to make the aquatic facility once known as the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, which is soon to be the Sequim Y, more energy-efficient.
Clallam County Parks and Recreation District 1 commissioners approved a $273,151 grant last Friday offered by the state Department of Commerce to switch the pool’s air handler from a propane boiler to an electric heat pump to cut down on fossil fuel use.
Commissioners voted 4-1 in a special meeting inside the inactive former Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) building.
Commissioner Jan Richardson opposed the move, saying, “We’re giving public money to a private organization and I just can’t see it.”
Richardson also said Clallam Public Utility District officials came through the facility a few years ago for an energy assessment and found the conversion wouldn’t be a positive change.
However, Frank Pickering, chairman of the board, said under the grant’s contract, savings are guaranteed because if they don’t see a savings from the conversion, then the Department of Commerce will pay the difference.
Park district officials say the savings would be upward of $60,000 annually after converting.
Olympic Peninsula YMCA officials tentatively target opening the Sequim Y in mid-September.
The facility has been closed since last October, and park district commissioners agreed to replace the aging air handler in preparation for the YMCA to lease the facility.
Park district vice chair Sherry Nagel said, “It makes sense because [the heat pumps are] being installed at the same time as the air handler.”
Fellow Commissioner Bill Jeffers expressed concern about potential conflicts with accepting this new grant and the $731,705 grant awarded from the county’s Opportunity Fund to replace the air handler, but Pickering said he’s spoken with county officials and they gave their congratulations.
Nagel said county officials were aware of the commerce grant possibility and that the heat pumps are an add-on piece of equipment to the existing grant to replace the air handler.
State energy engineer Lisa Steel, who oversees Abacus Resource Management to replace the air handler, previously said she anticipates construction to begin the third week of June and continue through July or August.
Pickering said park district commissioners will need to hold another special meeting to approve and sign the contract with the Department of Commerce.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alana Linderoth contributed to this report.Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Olympic Peninsula YMCA board of directors.