Construction crews unload an air handler at the YMCA of Sequim on Monday. (Frank Pickering)

Construction crews unload an air handler at the YMCA of Sequim on Monday. (Frank Pickering)

YMCA of Sequim set for Monday opening with most of facility to be ready for use

The Y’s “soft opening” is this Monday, with a grand opening set for Oct. 30.

By Michael Dashiell

Olympic Peninsula News Group

SEQUIM — The long wait is almost over.

The former Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, now managed by the Clallam County YMCA, opens for business as the YMCA of Sequim with a “soft opening” Monday.

A grand opening of the facility at 610 N. Fifth Ave. is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 30, when all amenities are scheduled to be open.

That’s the word from branch manager Kurt Turner, who gave SARC board members an overview of things to come at their Oct. 12 meeting.

Back in operation

“People are going to enjoy getting their lifestyle back,” Turner said. “We know people missed it.”

The YMCA took over operations after the closure of the Sequim Aquatic and Recreation Center (SARC) on Oct. 30, 2015. Members of Clallam County Parks and Recreation District 1, the junior taxing district that owns SARC, voted to turn the facility’s management over to the Olympic Peninsula YMCA.

“A number of people are disappointed it’s not open,” park district vice chairwoman Sherry Nagel said.

Between the “soft” and grand opening dates, most of the facility will be usable, including the cardio and workout rooms and gymnasium.

“We think the pool’s going to be open [as well],” Turner said.

Those who want to sign up for a YMCA membership don’t have to wait, however, as the membership desk is open now. Membership desk hours are from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Turner said the YMCA already has more than 300 people signed up as of the middle of last week.

The YMCA sent letters to former SARC users looking to resolve about 750 accounts where customers were owed money or credit, Turner said. He noted that about 65 percent of those contacted had resolved their accounts as of Oct. 12.

“I suspect some want to see when the facility opens,” he said.

But, Turner urged, if any former SARC users with an unresolved account haven’t received a letter, they should contact the YMCA.

A big piece of the facility opening is an air handler to maintain air quality, humidity and chemicals in the pool area. The equipment arrived Monday and should take about five business days to install, Turner said.

Changes, changes

Turner said the facility should look similar but that newcomers and former SARC users alike should feel welcomed.

“We want people to come back and feel comfortable,” he said. “I hope they feel at home, that the staff is friendly and welcoming. The Y is all about inclusion.”

The facility will see an expansion of hours, with the YMCA of Sequim open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Olympic Medical Center is subletting a 1,500-square-foot area near the main entry that formerly housed the child watch and cardio areas, though Turner said it has no plans for utilizing that area until January.

Some cardio equipment went to the back exercise room, but about 30 pieces are in limbo; some might be going to the Port Angeles YMCA, Turner said.

“We’re going to try to use them everywhere we can use them,” he said.

Lockers were offered up to former SARC passholders and may be rented out for the day, month or year, Turner said. No longer a key-in system, lockers are secured by either people bringing in a lock or the YMCA renting one out.

“A lot of people are attached to their lockers,” park district commissioner Bill Jeffers said.

Turner said the YMCA has enough staff to open, though “we can always use more lifeguards.”

Notables

• The YMCA of Clallam County’s annual capital campaign raised about $165,000 — $15,000 more than the target goal, Turner said.

• YMCA officials are looking at starting a lifeguard program with the Boys &Girls Club and a similar one for Sequim students. Youths would increase swimming skills and eventually achieve lifeguard certification, with students possibly earning a physical education credit.

• Tours of the facility are available anytime during regular business hours.

• The YMCA saw about 400 people turn out for the Y-to-Y event Oct. 1.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

Terry Ward, publisher of Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the YMCA board of directors.

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