After years of planning, the first phase of renovating the 34-year-old Guy Cole Convention Center in Carrie Blake Community Park is complete.
Staff with the City of Sequim and members of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on May 16 for more than 30 people to commemorate the building reopening to the public.
The building was last rented in December 2015 and it closed for remodeling in 2016, which included renovating the bathroom, lowering the ceiling and adding new acoustic tiles, installing new carpet, windows and trim, a new roof, exterior lighting and paint inside and outside.
“Going through this process, it’s reaffirmed the importance of this building,” Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin told the crowd on Tuesday. “Our calendar is already booking up.”
Assistant Public Works Manager Matt Klontz said the project cost about $340,000 using a $436,500 grant from the 2015-2017 Washington State Capital Budget through the Department of Commerce Direct Grant Program.
Sequim city councilors agreed to a contract with Hoch Construction of Port Angeles in November of last year and they opted to go with an asphalt shingle roof over metal to save funds.
City councilors indicated to staff that any leftover funds should go to Phase II of renovations, which includes remodeling the kitchen and teaching rooms and adding distance learning equipment.
Klontz said city staff will discuss design and funding options for Phase II of the convention center at the regular Sequim City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, May 22, in the Sequim Civic Center, 152 W. Cedar St.
Klontz said they’ll discuss options from keeping it simple by installing a warming kitchen to creating a commercial kitchen with “all the bells and whistles.”
“The costs vary, so we’re going to zero in on what is the right kitchen for that facility,” he said.
Mayor Dennis Smith concluded the celebration by saying “We’re going to have a world-class facility here soon and we’re getting closer every day.”
The centerpiece of the first phase remodel includes a 6-foot tall by 8-foot wide leaded glass window created by local artist Millie Harrell.
She told the audience on Tuesday the piece took her 1½ years to make.
Members of the Sequim City Arts Advisory Commission attempted a fundraiser last summer to raise $29,000 to purchase the elk from Harrell, but secured only some of their goal.
Harrell ended up donating the piece saying she wanted it to stay in Sequim.
“I hope the community really enjoys it,” Harrell said.
Sharon DelaBarre, chairman of the Arts Advisory Commission, said Harrell’s piece is the first secured for the city through the commission and she and other members of the group hope to bring more projects into the city with community support.
After Harrell was honored, Sequim Deputy Mayor Ted Miller recognized the efforts of former mayor Ken Hays, citizen advocate Pat Johansen and former city manager Steve Burkett for starting the push for the project in 2012.
Students with the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center also remodeled the former Lions Den meeting room from 2014-2015.
For more information, call the City of Sequim at 683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.