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Senior activities center eyes new design
Efforts push forward to build a new Sequim Senior Activity Center.
Since buying a total of 5.78 acres on the Discovery Trail near Washington Street and Simdars Road, Executive Director Michael Smith said the center has received about $500,000 for purchasing land and future construction.
He estimates in about a month, they’ll have a final cost estimate for the new facility along with more definitive renderings. Early estimates put the building between $6 million and $7 million.
“I think we’re making good progress on a time schedule,” Smith said. “We’re allowing ourselves three years to raise the money. With in-kind donations of materials and labor then we may come in under that (early estimate).”
The center has been working since early this year with architect Roy Hellwig of Tormod Hellwig LLC, who does work for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Peninsula College.
Smith said they tentatively expect more definitive floor plans in a month from Hellwig and once they have a cost estimate and designs, they can begin applying for federal and state grants.
Early designs project a two-story building with a gymnasium, upstairs walking track, café, locker room, arts and crafts rooms, classrooms, computer lab, multipurpose room and music room.
The new building is being pursued to replace the heavily used center on 1.1 acres at 921 E. Hammond St., which is a remodeled warehouse and not large enough. The center boasts about 1,600 members and an estimated 300-400 people come through the doors weekly.
On May 31, the center hosts its second Gala Dinner and Auction, sponsored by Park View Villas and held at Club Seven at 7 Cedars Casino.
Michelle Rhodes, trips and program director, said last year they raised about $10,000 for the new center.
Event volunteer Emily Westcott said last year about 100 people attended and their goal is to have double that committed to attend.
“It’s an event that’s growing and one that we feel we can get more and more support for,” Smith said. “In addition to being a fundraiser, it’s fun and a great way to raise awareness for what we’re doing.”
The event features the first viewing of a digital fly-through of the proposed new center.
Rhodes has hired Northwest Benefit Auctions to lead the silent and live auctions.
The live auction features several trips, including a balloon ride for two, Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, Seaside, Ore., Silver Reef Casino and several more, along with a year’s worth of pies from Cameron Café. The silent auction features hundreds of items from live plants to yard art to a quilt from the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club to restaurant gift cards to a year’s worth of pizza from Domino’s Pizza to one pound of fudge a month from We Do Fine Fudge.
This year they’ll ask for donations to fund memberships, valued at $100 each, for low-income seniors. The cost includes the membership, activity bucks and foot care.
Rhodes said in the past year, some grants that helped support low-income seniors have been reduced so she hopes the donations help make up the difference.
Westcott said while the center remains the same size its need is growing exponentially.
“A lot of people use it more than they realize,” she said. “We host AARP Tax-Aide from Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisers and we offer a lot of activities like aerobics, yoga and tai chi, and trips all over.”
Membership isn’t just for those over 60, Rhodes said.
“We have members in their 30s and up,” she said.
“There are so many people who are active here that the perception that seniors are old and don’t do anything is wrong,” Westcott said.
Tickets for the gala are $50 through May 17 and go up to $65 through May 28 at the center and Pacific Mist Books.
For more information, call 683-6806 or visit www.sequimseniorcenter.org.