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SARC candidates debate new programs

The Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center’s operating hours, programs and the condition of its locker rooms were debated at an Oct. 8 forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.

Two positions are up this year on SARC’s five-person board.

Jan Richardson is running against Susan Sorensen for her position 1 seat.

Sorensen is seeking re-election to her third four-year term. It’s Richardson’s second try. He lost to Annette Kuss in 2007.

Noelle Levesque is running against Robert Macaulay for his SARC position 2.

Macaulay was appointed in August 2008 after commissioner Frank Figg resigned due to health reasons.

Richardson said there’s a lack of professional management at SARC and it has lost $65,000 so far this year.

It also could change the weekend hours and improve the cleanliness and front desk personnel’s attitude, he said.

Sorensen said SARC is a jewel for a community this size and she spends more time there now than when she was an instructor.

SARC is looking at advertising and other means of increasing visibility, she said.

Other gyms are increasing their membership because they are filling niches, Sorensen said.

Regarding new programs, Richardson said he would like to see a climbing wall for children middle school age and younger.

Sorensen said SARC has received many requests to add pickleball and arthritis treatment in the pool but needs more feedback from users.

In the other SARC race, Levesque said she is running to change SARC and make it better.
It’s time for a change after five years, she said.

In addition to more and better equipment, Levesque would like to add keyless entry to compete with 24-hour gyms.

Macaulay said one of the board’s most important responsibilities is hiring an executive director and monitoring cash flow.

The family changing room is in the main hallway and relocating it will take a lot of time and money but it must be done, he said.

Levesque said traffic flow in the lobby could be improved by issuing ATM cards for check-in or by adding another desk.

Macaulay said SARC has 12,000 visitors a month and they are hard to track, so they all should be issued ATM cards.

Levesque said membership for premier pass holders should be longer than 10 years. SARC also needs reduced fees to increase membership, she said.

Regarding new programs, Macaulay said no one has asked him for a new program in a year but he’s open to it.

Levesque said she had no idea what new programs to add so she would survey members.

Macaulay said SARC has spent $100,000 on maintenance and has a $1 million reserve, which is why it hasn’t closed.

SARC will work on getting new lockers if it has time and money, he said.

Gym membership is down 10 percent nationally, but SARC’s membership and income both are increasing, Macaulay said.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.
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