SEQUIM — Sequim City Council members have unanimously approved the expansion of the James Center for Performing Arts’ practice space, Swisher Hall.
The council acted Jan. 10.
Sequim City Band members previously said the practice hall, built in 2005, could comfortably accommodate about 35 people, but they have as many as 70 players now and other groups use the space, including the Sequim Community Orchestra and Strings Kids Music Education Program.
Band members said the expansion will enlarge the hall to nearly 2,500 square feet to accommodate up to 75 musicians, add another bathroom, improve acoustics, lighting, a heating/ventilation system and keep the band’s music collection and instrument storage in the current space.
Architect Steve Zenovic with Zenovic and Associates said the band’s intent is to begin building this summer after submitting a conditional use permit, going to bid and with construction tentatively set from June to November.
Debbi Soderstrom, the band’s board president, said the board plans to fully fund the project at just more than $1 million without taking out any loans. She said they’ve collected about $919,000 with another $44,000 in uncollected pledges.
City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said the city council would not be able to provide city funds toward the project because it would then become a public works project and fall under certain guidelines that could affect grants, bids and other portions of the project.
Sarah VanAusdle, Sequim’s interim public works director, said once the addition is completed, the city would be responsible for maintenance, which would include regular cleaning of its facilities.
VanAusdle added that during her tenure, they’ve repainted the band shell once, so it wouldn’t be required for some time.
Donations to the Sequim City Band, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, can be made at sequimcityband.org under the “Rehearsal Hall Expansion” tab, or mailed to: PO Box 1745, Sequim WA 98382; designate “Rehearsal Hall Expansion” or “Building Fund” to direct a donation specifically to the project.
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 [email protected].