Archive for Friday, September 3, 2010

City won’t open outdoor pool Saturday due to lack of lifeguards

Lifeguard Michael Heaney stands at his station, keeping a sharp eye open on swimmers at the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky.

Lifeguard Michael Heaney stands at his station, keeping a sharp eye open on swimmers at the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky.

September 3, 2010


Safety concerns close pool for Saturday

KU football, Labor Day weekend and classes in session have staff at the Lawrence pool down to a minimum this Saturday. The pool will be closed on the first day of the weekend but open the rest of the holiday break. Enlarge video

A dog paddles after a tennis ball at the Pooch Plunge.

A dog paddles after a tennis ball at the Pooch Plunge.

Plans to spend the holiday weekend in the city’s outdoor swimming pool will need to be adjusted.

The Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., won’t be ending the summer pool season with a big splash. The start of school coupled with a busy holiday weekend and KU football’s home opener has forced the city to close the pool today.

”We try to bulk up on our staff for the weekend,” said Aquatic Supervisor Lori Madaus, “but this year it didn’t happen.”

High school and Kansas University students make up about 95 percent of the pool’s staff. Lifeguard Logan Marienau, a KU senior, said finding time to work is “just a little bit more tough with school.” Marienau has been a lifeguard for four years and said he hasn’t experienced staffing issues during Labor Day weekend in the past.

Nevertheless, a shortage of lifeguards presents a safety concern. “We want to make sure that our staff is here and vigilant,” said Madaus, “to make sure there are no drownings, no incidents or injuries.”

The Outdoor Aquatic Center will reopen Sunday and Monday. Hours will be 1 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. both days. Monday will be the last day the pool is open to the public. The city’s Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive, will be open today. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. for lap swimming and 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for recreational swimming.

The city also will have its annual Pooch Plunge at the outdoor pool from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. That event allows residents to bring their dogs to the pool for a swim.


Charlie Sabotage 7 years, 8 months ago

If you built it, they will come. There will be no on there to supervise. SO if you built it, it will sit.

mom_of_three 7 years, 8 months ago

Its a 6:00pm game. They can't get anyone to work until 4:00. I mean, how long do you need to get your drink on before the game.

MyName 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I mean isn't 5 PM the previous Friday, the official start time?

TheEleventhStephanie 7 years, 8 months ago

maybe if they paid them more than seven bucks an hour, they might want to work!

sad_lawrencian 7 years, 8 months ago

The city also will have its annual Pooch Plunge at the outdoor pool from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. That event allows residents to bring their dogs to the pool for a swim.>>>

Ewww! Getting in the water with a bunch of dogs?!? I can't imagine getting into a public swimming pool with a lot of dogs in it! Disgusting! Can't believe this would be considered sanitary!!

And furthermore, when I had a dog (a beagle), that dog didn't want to go anywhere near our swimming pool!

Richard Payton 7 years, 8 months ago

Remember the doogie bags the staff doesn't want to pick up doggie doo doo!

adagio 7 years, 8 months ago

The last day they are open is Monday. Tuesday no people will be swimming. They will be draining and cleaning the pool. Many communities do this at the end of the season.

Practicality 7 years, 8 months ago

Bozo, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You can work on saturday!

somedude20 7 years, 8 months ago

Give some of the homeless (or people claming they can't find jobs) a few bucks or a jug of 2 buck chuck (or both if you are so inclined) to watch the kiddies on Saturday. The city always seem able to bring extra bodies to do saturation patrols so find some for our children (well, your children)

May the Dweezil Zappa be with you

Zype 7 years, 8 months ago

Lifeguard training costs $175, and is a 36 hour course. Should you get hired, you must then shell out more money for your suit, tshirt, ect. Feel free to fund a training class, but you still won't have certified(or hired, for that matter) lifeguards by Saturday.

LadyJ 7 years, 8 months ago

Just had an evil thought, but am excercising self control. Don't say it, don't say it.

jmhansen 7 years, 8 months ago

The County Fair Swim Club will be open so if the kids wanna swim, send them our way.

Kelly Johnson 7 years, 8 months ago

Don't you have to have a membership to swim there?

mbulicz 7 years, 8 months ago

Boy, it's a good thing the city has $600k to throw down on electric cars, but not enough for lifeguards!

Practicality 7 years, 8 months ago

We have about 25000 people in this town between the ages of 16 and 24 and we can't man a swimming pool????

This is why we have illegals in America.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 8 months ago

Gee, the poor college kids can't come to work because it's KU's first football game of the season. Boo hoo. When they graduate and get real jobs in the real world, will they use the same excuse every year? Way to screw up the last swimming weekend of the summer.

domino 7 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't want to swim as cool as the temps have been getting at night. Water would be pretty chilly for little ones. I think the Pooch Plunge is a GREAT idea - I'd be taking my dogs if I were in town. They would love it!!

Many of the lifeguards are locals who are going elsewhere to college - happens in many towns. They can only stay open as long as there are guards to man the pool. It is very expensive to train/certify the lifeguards - can't just have Joe Blow sitting on the stand. It is one day - get over it!

LadyJ 7 years, 8 months ago

What, the city commissions have not had lifeguard training? Should be a requirement from now on so they can ensure the city pool stays open. I'm sure we would all like to see what they look like in a swim suit.

sinkorswim 7 years, 8 months ago

Hmmmmm....That's interesting. When I worked there if you wanted any time off you needed to find someone to cover your hours. If you couldn't find someone, you came to work...unless it was truly an emergency. Worked our great that way! If there was a football game we turned on the radio and listened to the game from the stand.

We were also open weekdays when school started: Mon-Fri. 4-7 and regular hours on Sat.-Sun. Might have been a guard or two short until we had enough guards (no slides), but were definitely able to open the main water areas! We also lost guards who attended school in other towns, but picked up guards who arrived in town to attend KU. When it was all said and done it was a pretty even swap. There were even a couple of years that we stayed open PAST Labor Day.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 8 months ago

what if we used the homeless as lifeguards...

Chris Phillips 7 years, 8 months ago

Would we still be having the same complaints if we were having thunderstorms this weekend and they couldn't open to pool for safety reasons due to lightning? Come on people...swimming is a luxury, not a right. It's unfortunate they weren't able to staff adequately or plan for this properly, but just go DO SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD!!

John Hamm 7 years, 8 months ago

The first part of your comment is negated by this, "It's unfortunate they weren't able to staff adequately or plan for this properly." There are people who have planned this weekend including a swim in the City pool for which they have or would pay admission. It's absurd there wasn't adequate staffing or planning to eliminate this problem. English translation? Poor management.

middlemgmt 7 years, 8 months ago

If safety is a concern, they should make sure the life guards are paying attention rather than flirting with each other and playing rock, paper, sizzors across the pool with each other.

Jimo 7 years, 8 months ago

So, the employees who could work 99% of the year can't work 1% of the year and it's not cost effective to hire a separate staff for the 1%. If you rely on students, who have lots of time when school is out, then you won't be able to rely on them when school starts up again. Astonishing. Who could have foreseen this?

make_a_difference 7 years, 8 months ago

It's not like there isn't a pool available for swimming. People who really want to swim today can use the Indoor Aquatic Center. And with the cooler temperature today that pool would probably be more comfortable anyway.

Raider 7 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like poor management. Whomever is in charge should have done a better job of making sure there was enough coverage. What a screw job for the kids that wanted to swim this weekend.

Beate Williams 7 years, 8 months ago

Some of these comments are truly sickening; it is obvious most of you have not had to contend with trying to get qualified lifeguards, who have to love swimming, who receive little pay and who are really trying to get an education as their first priority. It sounds to me like the management of the pool has made a decision to utilize the lifeguards on had for the inside pool rather than the outside pool and this decision may have been made because of the temperatures Lawrence has been experiencing the past few days; regardless, it isn't like they have closed the center, they have made a decision they felt was in the best interests of the citizens of Lawrence.

It is so easy to criticize when you are not in that position. Oh yeah, run right out and get yourself 20 to 25 incoming students who are certified and sign them up to work three or four days before the pool closes or let's say a week before it closes--I'm sure if they had run an advertisement they would have had hoards of KU students beating down their doors for that job. Get real people, swimming is available if the kids must go but I would have bet, with all the activities of today's game, there would not have been many at the pool any way.

A refund of 1 day's membership is not required because the indoor pool is available.

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