SEASIDE - With not a moment to spare, Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District began offering wellness classes Wednesday in its newly vacated office space, at the back of the pool building.

Executive Director Mary Blake announced at Wednesday's board meeting that the administration department's move into the Abel house across the street is very nearly finished. The maintenance department has already moved all equipment and phone lines are expected to be fully operational in two weeks. Until then, anyone wishing to reach Blake or other administration staff should call the main pool office at 738-3311. Blake is the last administrator to move her office into the new house.

"I've been going through a lot of material," she said with a wry laugh. "Twenty years of work. It's just remarkable to see the good work we've been a part of."

The former office space is being used now for gentle yoga (for mature adults), Yo-Piball (a combination of yoga, pilates and phiso ball) and golf fitness classes. SEPRD's Broadway after-school program will also use the room for its youth yoga classes.

But Blake said that administration is in the information-gathering phase, as it formulates plans for the space.

"We're asking people - patrons, businesses, the hospital - what their ideas are on public access to a fitness and wellness center. We want to know what they would like that to look like, before we decide what the big picture will look like."

In other businesses, board members:

• Commended Office Manager Linda Andres for 10 years of service with SEPRD. She first started as a homework tutor and has recently served on the district's scholarship review committee.

• Learned of two recent donations to the district. Annie Abel, who formerly owned the Abel house, donated $500 for use in the Abel house transition and wellness programs. Jean Kemp, a regular pool user who recently died, has also named SEPRD in her estate. Although an exact figure has not been named because paperwork is still in progress, "it will be a sizable amount," Blake said. The district plans to have a party to honor the memory of the former "Sunset Lady," who posed for the district's fund-raising calendar. Kemp had indicated that the money be used for both the Abel house purchase and the swimming pool programs.

• Were informed that, as of Jan. 16, the district has nine active scholarships and that the district's non-profit foundation recently dedicated $1,000 to the scholarship program. The scholarship committee will continue to campaign for community donations to the program.

• Were assigned their annual review of Blake's performance. Their review will be included on next month's meeting agenda.

• Listened to a concern from Seaside pool user Merlin Humpal about pool chemicals reacting with certain heart medicines and causing a rash. He asked Blake if she could talk with a physician about drug interactions and perhaps place a warning sign. Blake said that she is not authorized to give medical advice, but that the district is implementing a medical health screening sheet to gather more information about patrons' health concerns.

• Listened to questions about the district's budget and salaries from Seaside resident Linda Lowery. She agreed to meet with Blake and board member Mike Hinton to further discuss her concerns and go over the budget line items.


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