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Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer’s over

August 11, 2012

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It’s not a new policy in Lawrence, but it’s still disappointing that officials haven’t figured out a way to keep the city’s only outdoor swimming pool open at least through the Labor Day weekend.

Even though there is bound to be plenty of good pool weather left this year, hours for the Outdoor Aquatic Center will be cut drastically this week, when classes begin in the Lawrence public schools. On Thursday and Friday, the pool will be open after school from 4 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.; next Saturday and Sunday, the pool will return to its normal hours of 1 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. But after next Sunday, the pool will be open only from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, for lap swimmers. That means the pool won’t be open after school or next weekend and will close for the season after the annual Pooch Plunge, which is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.

We assume officials have all the same reasons they’ve offered before for this early closure: the number of swimmers drops off when school starts, and it’s hard to find enough lifeguards and other staff to keep the pool open. But it’s hard to believe there wouldn’t be sufficient demand to keep the pool open for the last two weekends of August, and staffing doesn’t seem like an insurmountable problem if the pool managers plan ahead.

City taxpayers made a sizable investment in the Outdoor Aquatic Center, and it’s too bad to see that facility being less than fully utilized at the end of the summer.

Comments

sinkorswim 2 years ago

I was a guard and swim instructor for 10+ years at the outdoor pool and we never closed before Labor Day. There were even a couple of years we stayed open past Labor Day! Once school started it was always a challenge having enough staff, but we always managed. We altered weekday hours to be 4pm-8pm. It might mean opening the pool while keeping the diving well and/or slides closed until guards got out of class and trickled in, but we made it happen and were able to continue to provide a safe, healthy environment for anyone wanting to swim. Maybe it's just not important to the current manager and city officials? Maybe they don't really consider it a valuable service to provide to the community, so are willing to shut it down when things get tricky!? It seems folks like Bob Lockwood were able to make things happen that were good for the patrons, often in spite of the almighty dollar.

*I am aware there is a lovely indoor aquatic center at Free State. It's not the same as swimming outside...in the warm weather...with sunshine. Plus, it's completely aggravating that swim teams seem to hold the competition pool hostage in the late afternoon/early evening. Ever try to swim laps there after work? Not possible to do in a lap lane. Also impossible to find out what days/times swim teams will be monopolizing the pool. No one at the front desk or lifeguards ever seem to know.

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