Swimmers dashed to the diving board and found no lines. They climbed to the top of the slides and didn’t have to wait on Monday afternoon, but that hasn’t typically been the state of affairs at the recently-opened Spring Hill Aquatic Center.
According to Eden Dowler, District Manager Midwest Pool Management, in its 10 days since opening there have occasionally exceeded capacity.
“Capacity is 425,” Dowler said. “We’ve had to stop the line of admissions and wait for people to exit the facility before we could let more in.”
With a soft opening on May 28, and the official opening on May 29, things at the new swimming pool are going, well, swimmingly.
“Everything has run pretty smoothly,” Dowler explained. “Any time you build a new facility, there are things that aren’t going to work perfectly. We’ve had a few pumps that we’ve had to reset breakers on, but that’s about it. Those are things that happen with all new construction.”
Just a few weeks before the opening, it may have appeared that the pool wasn’t going to be ready in time for Memorial Day weekend, but like any construction project, it came together at the end, Dowler said.
“I would say the general contractor and the pool company worked right up to the very last minute to get everything ready,” Dowler said.
Dowler’s company, Midwest Pool Management, was hired to run operations at the aquatic center for the city. Dowler said Spring Hill’s Aquatic Center opening is the sixth she’s helped oversee in the Kansas City area – although her company has been managing pools for about 40 years.
Dowler said the number of attractions at Spring Hill’s center really sets it apart from those in other communities. The pool features a river slide, a lazy river, a rock climbing wall and several other features.
“Someone could come 101 days of summer and have a different experience, because there are so many attractions,” Dowler said. “Most (aquatic center) facilities in existence have two or three amenities. Spring Hill has about eight.”
As a condition of the contract between the city and Midwest Pool Management, the company was required to recruit potential employees from Spring Hill. That, Dowler said, hasn’t been a problem. Approximately 60 people are employed at the new facility – most are from the city of Spring Hill or reside within the USD 230 boundaries. Their first recruiting session was at Spring Hill High School and many employees are school employees and students from the school.
“When we went to start recruiting at the high school, it was one of the best recruiting sessions we’ve ever had,” Dowler said.
As the summer progresses, the facility will be used for several activities like swimming lessons, water aerobics and river walking.
Dowler said the management company and the Spring Hill Recreation Commission are starting those activities a little later than they likely will in future years because of the newness of the facility.
“We typically recommend that for the first year you start that process a little bit later,” Dowler said. “Just making sure everything is working great before you really bombard the facility with programming.”
Programming will really kick off after the grand opening this weekend. The city will host a ribbon cutting at the facility at 11 a.m. on June 12. Later that evening, the rec commission will host its first event at the facility – a luau.
The luau will start at 5 p.m. on June 12.