By John Burdick
Sekiu Schoolhouse was built in 1916, designed by Harold Grinnold, a school architect, and built by Goodyear Lumber Company. Eight grades were taught there until WWII. After that, it was four elementary classes until 1946. When the school board closed the building as a school, community members persuaded the Board to allow the building to be leased to the newly formed Sekiu Community Club.
The building has been a community center ever since then. Many activities have been held at SCC through the years. Dances were held regularly, and local groups used it for various purposes. In the 1980s, preschool was held there. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, West End Seniors, Messy Palettes, Alcoholic Anonymous, Writing Workshop and numerous other groups have enjoyed using the building over the years.
The original downstairs area became very hard to keep out water seepage through the concrete floor and walls. Built up floor layers tended to disintegrate, get damp and moldy.
The walls were damp and moldy also. Layers were stripped out and redone at least two times. Other problems with the building motivated a desire to conduct a major restoration. After numerous community meetings, a major renovation was financed from several sources, and began in 2002, and completed in 2004.
This major project included complete tear out and rebuilding of the lower floor, significant strengthening of the roof framing structure, the addition of ADA Bathrooms upstairs, a re-roofing, and complete painting job. This cost over $800,000. But it is very clear that it was well done and very well received by the community. Sekiu Community Center continues to be utilized by several local groups and rented for meetings, weddings, and conferences.
The building management is by West End Youth and Community Club; basically, the same group that started managing it in 1946. After United Way of Clallam County came into being, WEYCC applied for financial assistance and has received funds now for more than 20 years.
The WEYCC board and membership are truly thankful for that assistance. The building has ongoing needs and problem areas that could not be solved in the major remodeling of 2002-04. The main deck at the top of dramatic east entry is becoming rotted and needs to be replaced. The upstairs windows (38) need to be insulated; this would improve the comfort level in the main hall. The entire building will need to be repainted soon.
The funds we receive from rentals and from United Way are not enough for significant maintenance projects, and therefore we welcome donations and are appreciative that the band Loose Gravel has and is now offering the “Holiday Hoedown” to be held Saturday, Dec. 9 from 6-9 p.m., to assist with our fundraising efforts.