SEQUIM — The Sequim YMCA is gearing up to be in full operation Nov. 1, with a celebration planned Oct. 1 and a soft opening scheduled Oct. 24.
Kurt Turner, manager of the Sequim Y at 610 N. Fifth Ave., said the facility will have normal business hours after the Oct. 24 soft opening but that certain areas, such as the pool and play area, might remain closed or have limited hours depending on final construction work.
“We expect the full facility to operate normally beginning Nov. 1,” he said.
The YMCA of Sequim opening follows 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 the facility, voted to turn its management over to the Olympic Peninsula YMCA.
During the Oct. 1 celebration, Sequim’s membership desk will open for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s Y-to-Y event.
Participants can leave from the YMCA of Port Angeles beginning at 7 a.m. and travel either by foot or bicycle along the Olympic Discovery Trail to the Sequim club.
They can join at two locations along the 18.2-mile route: at the Four Seasons Ranch and Agnew Fields.
Barbecue and live music will be available at the Sequim YMCA from noon to 3 p.m. as a celebration of its opening.
Turner said the Sequim YMCA’s membership desk also will be open Oct. 10-21 from 10 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for visitors to fill out membership applications, drop them off and/or pick up YMCA key fobs.
“We will begin our monthly membership drafts on Nov. 1, [and] any member registering in October will receive Sequim YMCA access during operation hours through the end of October free of charge,” Turner said.
Former members of SARC were mailed a letter from the Olympic Peninsula YMCA to see whether they’d be interested in putting dues toward a YMCA of Sequim membership, donating the amount to the facility or receiving a refund.
A big piece of preparation of the facility is installing an air handler to maintain air quality, humidity and chemicals in the pool area.
“We expect the new air handler to be completely installed by our full facility opening on Nov. 1,” Turner said.
Clallam County commissioners agreed March 29 that $731,705 from the county’s Opportunity Fund can go to replacing the aging infrastructure. Additionally, Clallam County Parks and Recreation District 1 commissioners voted 4-1 in May to accept a $273,151 grant from 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.
Len Borchers, CEO of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, said current estimates are that the equipment will save at least $50,000 per year in electrical and propane costs, which will reduce overall operating costs and help ensure operations are sustainable into the future.
“The YMCA as well as Olympic Medical Center are both making additional investments in the facility to improve operations and provide members with enhanced services,” he said.
Borchers said OMC will sublet a 1,500-square-foot area near the main entry that formerly housed the child watch and cardio areas.
“They will customize the space for the services they will be providing and have access and use of other areas according to our agreement with them,” he said.
“We are developing a special membership plan for OMC patients that will allow them to use the YMCA outside of their scheduled rehab center visits and to transition to full Y members when their initial treatment is completed,” he added.
Borchers said the YMCA holds a long-term lease on the facility and is responsible for all operations and maintenance.
“These grants totaling slightly over $1 million are managed by SARC with accounting support from Clallam County and in direct consultation and collaboration with the YMCA,” Borchers said.
Representatives of the YMCA and the SARC board meet weekly to review projects and schedule work to be done, making recommendations on subcontractors and reviewing recommendations from consultants, he said.
“This has been an extremely collaborative effort, with everyone focused on maximizing the benefit of the grant funds to improve the mechanical and electrical systems throughout the building,” Borchers said.
As for the existing equipment in the building, Borchers said staff have evaluated it and removed the oldest items, some duplicates and expensive items to maintain. Surplus items will be stored, sold, traded, donated or held for later use, he said.
So far, Borchers said staff has added 12 brand-new spin cycles and upgraded four recumbent bikes with plans to install free weight benches.
Borchers said if for any reason the YMCA elected to terminate its lease with SARC early, it would leave equipment in the facility comparable to what was there when it took possession.
“We are making daily progress on facility renovations and have almost all of our staff hired and in training,” Borchers said.
In recent months, community volunteers have worked to prepare the site, too, Borchers said, including Sequim’s Rotary clubs, Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, Boy Scout troops and United Way of Clallam County.
For more information on the YMCA of Sequim, visit olympicpeninsulaymca.org.
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].
Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Olympic Peninsula YMCA board of directors.