After two months of searching and deliberating, Scott Deschenes has been chosen as the new Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center director.
He replaces Taylor McDonald, who stepped down on March 29 after nearly two years.
Sue Sorensen, SARC board chairman, said they chose him because his qualifications met SARC’s needs.
“He has experience in planning special community events, programming, budgeting and managing finance. He brings a lot to the table,” she said.
Deschenes resides in Mission, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, where he formerly worked for the Sylvester Powell Community Center as recreation program supervisor.
Sorensen said his position producing and supervising activities and budgets was cut after working there nine years.
He was one of 19 applicants and the SARC board of commissioners voted 4-0 on May 21, with Gil Goodman abstaining.
Goodman read aloud a statement noting Deschenes’ lack of experience with pool operations.
“SARC’s pool is not only its greatest and most expensive asset, but as a number of situations have shown during the past years, has the potential for serious consequences, risk and liability,” he said.
He also noted, Deschenes’ first order of business is to “become fully knowledgable/certified/qualified in all aspects of water safety, lifeguard and CPRP designation.”
“Hopefully, Mr. Deschenes will expeditiously follow through with this course of action because an executive director without the proper aquatic background/knowledge is not in SARC’s best interest and puts our facility at risk,” Goodman said.
He would not comment on why he abstained.
Commissioners also approved reimbursing Deschenes for an upcoming class to become certified in pool operations.
Deschenes said he sees taking on the pool’s management along with the rest of the facility as a new and exciting challenge.
“I love parks and recreation and see it as an opportunity to learn a new set of tools,” he said. “I know a lot of people who have expertise with it and I plan to confer with them.”
He hasn’t directly managed a pool before, he said, but he has programmed for pools classes and special events.
Deschenes has worked in various capacities in city parks and recreation departments since 1997, such as time with the City of Kent as a parks program assistant.
He’s familiar with Sequim and said moving back to Washington has been a goal for a while.
“I worked my first seven years as a professional here,” he said. “I like the Olympic Peninsula and hiking. I miss that lifestyle.”
Deschenes moved to Aberdeen from Alaska at age 12 and found his calling later for recreational work in a class at Washington State University. He also obtained an MBA from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.
His plan upon arriving is to learn the community while while assuring SARC continues to be a good steward to the community by offering reasonable prices with a high quality of services.
“We want to keep people coming back,” he said. “With any decisions I make, I want to truly represent the community and meet with them first.”
Sorensen said one statement that stood out to her was Deschenes’ focus on making wherever he worked a community gathering place.
“I think we can improve that here and increase our visibility,” she said.
Deschenes plans to move to the area by the end of June and his wife, a senior planner for the City of Olathe, will move at a later date.
For more information about the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, 610 N. Fifth Ave., call 683-3344 or visit www.sarcfitness.com.