Jim and Karen Jackson's new scuba diving facility will be a first for Lawrence and one of only a few facilities like it in Kansas.
It's been a deep project to dive into, but Jim and Karen Jackson are hoping their new scuba diving facility will make a splash in Lawrence.
The Jacksons, owners of Mask-Snorkel-Fin Inc., are anticipating the opening of their new diving facility at 25th Street and Ponderosa Drive.
"We still have some interior walls that need to be completed," Jim Jackson said. "But the building's up and we're going to be open as soon as we can. I'm actually very excited about it."
The Jacksons currently operate a retail dive shop, Mask-Snorkel-Fin, at 2201-F W. 25th, and have been teaching diving classes in addition to operating the store.
After their new facility is completed in early August, the Jacksons will be able to offer a full-service dive shop and instructional facility in one location.
"We would just like to be in our new facility and have everything in one place," Karen Jackson said.
The Jacksons have looked forward to constructing a complete dive facility in Lawrence since they first incorporated their business in February 1992.
When the new 25- by 50-foot heated swimming pool is completed, Jim Jackson said he's going to do everything possible to provide divers with one of the finest facilities in Kansas.
"I want to have air and water that will be the cleanest available. That's why we put in dual pump systems for air and water," he said. "A diver dives because of what he can see in the water. So, if there's even the slightest bit of cloudy water, I don't want that and I'm not going to let that happen -- I'm just not."
Karen Jackson said Mask-Snorkel-Fin also would be compressing oxygen-enriched air for divers.
The Jacksons attended the Diving Equipment and Marketing Assn. trade show earlier this year in New Orleans, where Jim completed certification in oxygen-enriched air service techniques.
"The enriched air contains 32 to 36 percent oxygen and the regular air that we breath is only about 21 percent," Karen Jackson said. "That's typically what you'd be breathing with regular compressed air."
Karen, a former medical technician at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, said the decision to make Mask-Snorkel-Fin a career was like diving into the deep end.
"It was a very big decision," Karen Jackson said. "I've been a registered medical technician for 32 years."
Now, with the help of their son Chad as head diving instructor, the Jacksons said they are looking forward to operating a unique dive shop in Lawrence.
"For the Midwest, it will probably be one of about a half-dozen facilities of its kind in Kansas," Jim Jackson said. "I hope that other people in the area will come to use the pool, too."
The Jacksons hope to move into the new diving shop by Aug. 5.