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SARC eyeing possible P.A., P.T. pool closures warily

Last week's announcement that the William Shore Memorial Pool in Port Angeles could close at the end of this year isn't necessarily good news for the

Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, according to Sue Sorensen, board president.

"I don't want the Port Angeles pool to close. Then everyone will want to have their piece of the pie at SARC and there's not enough pie to go around," she said on Friday.

"It's unfortunate that the Port Angeles pool is in jeopardy because we do not want to be the only one on the North Olympic Peninsula," Sorensen said.

SARC, located at 610 N. Fifth Ave., offers a 25-yard, six-lane pool with a depth ranging from 4 feet to 12 feet. It also has one-meter diving board, rope swing and a 17-foot-high water slide.

The pool operates on dues from about 2,600 pass holders following the failure of an operating levy in 2002.

The William Shore Swimming Pool in Port Angeles offers a 25-yard, six-lane pool with a depth ranging from 3.5 feet to 12 feet plus a beginners area and diving area with a one-meter board.

The Port Angeles City Council has proposed closing the pool next year because it costs the city's general fund as much as $400,000 a year.

In Port Townsend, the four-lane, 20-yard Mountain View Elementary School swimming pool could close at the end of this year because of high utility bills.

The Forks Aquatic Center opened in 2005 after voters approved a $2.9 million 20-year bond issue to build it but then closed in September 2006 due to a lack of operating funds.

Sorensen said SARC would run into scheduling problems with swimming lessons, swim teams, water aerobics and open swim times.

The U.S. Coast Guard's rescue swimmers also use the Port Angeles pool for training.

"Just to have one pool is impossible. We can't be open 24 hours a day because they need time to process the water and filter it. I don't know what is going to happen. It will be a big strain for SARC to be the only pool," Sorensen said.

The pool staff already arrives at 4:45 a.m. and two lifeguards must be on duty at all times, she said.

SARC's pool's high operating costs - as much as $10,000 a month for propane - are offset by the other amenities such as the weight room and cardio equipment that the other pools don't have, Sorensen said.

"Having a swimming pool costs money and many people don't realize that. It costs money to heat the water and pay for the water and chemicals and lifeguards. Pools are expensive," she said.

In March 1988, a $2.4 million bond was approved by 62 percent of voters in the Clallam County Park and Recreation District

No. 1, a taxing district created to fund a pool and recreation center in Sequim.

In October 2002, the name was changed to Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center after the failure of the district's operating levy was attributed at least in part to a lack of name recognition.

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