As preparations are underway to open La Porte City’s Family Aquatic Center for the season, the number of available lifeguards could impact the facility’s hours of operation. Opening Day for the Aquatic Center is slated for May 27. When the pool opens, the City anticipates having enough certified lifeguards to fully staff the facility during the initial portion of the summer schedule.
Each year, municipal aquatic centers are faced with the challenge of finding a sufficient number of lifeguards, enough to staff operational hours and cover summer vacation schedules. La Porte City is no exception. Having too many guards on the payroll can result in not enough hours available for each of them. Too few guards can leave the facility short when vacations reduce the number of available lifeguards to fill the schedule.
Compounding the challenge of hiring lifeguards are the certification requirements that come with the job. By the time the City received its most recent batch of applicants, the limited number of certification classes in the area had been filled. As this issue of The Progress Review goes to press, arrangements to bring an instructor to La Porte City to provide new lifeguards the necessary certification are being explored.
Since La Porte City’s new Aquatic Center opened in 2005, it typically has employed two dozen or more lifeguards every summer. Because current numbers are short of that mark, pool operations may be affected. Family Aquatic Center Manager Brooke Hartman and Assistant Manager Jess Larison are exploring other ways to address the potential lifeguard shortage while keeping the facility open to the public. For example, the number of guards needed to operate the facility can be reduced by closing the slide or clearing the pool 15 minutes of every hour to provide the lifeguards on duty their required breaks.
Following the adoption of the pool’s operational hours at the May 22 City Council meeting, the projected summer schedule will be posted online at www.lpcia.com.
The good news for La Porte City residents is that the number of available lifeguards is NOT expected to impact the schedule for swimming lessons, lap swim times or water exercise classes. Area residents may purchase pool passes and sign up for swim lessons on May 25 and 26, when the facility will be open from 4-7:30 PM.