Danedri Thompson
Part of the Gardner Aquatic Center was shuttered over the weekend, and everything but the lap pool will be closed later this week due to slippery conditions.
Jeff Stewart, city parks and recreation director, said the pool staff reported an unusual number of slips in the baby pool and in the zero-depth entry to the splash area.
“Obviously, in wet conditions, you might expect some slips, but this was more than you would expect,” Stewart said.
Although there haven’t been any serious injuries, Stewart said one person did slip and fall and hit his head. That individual is fine, but safety is the biggest priority for the parks and recreation department.
“When you have something like that, there’s certainly the potential for greater injury. That’s why we’re taking the approach that we are,” Stewart explained.
Friday afternoon, pool officials closed the baby pool and the zero-depth entry, though the deeper parts of the splash area, lazy river and slides remained open. They also ordered new paint for the area that will be mixed with fine sand.
Pool officials were hopeful the paint would arrive by Tuesday, June 7. Once it arrives, Stewart said parks and recreation crew members will work throughout the night to drain the shallow parts of the pool and paint it with sand mix.
Draining the shallow areas will result in low water levels throughout the other areas of the pool, including the slides and lazy river. During that time, only the lap pool, also known as the old pool, will remain open, but the aquatic center elements will be closed to the public.
Once the pool is painted, swimmers will have to wait at least 72 hours as the paint dries and water chemicals are balanced. Officials anticipate re-opening the entire pool by Saturday of this week.
Even with the closure of the zero-depth entry and the baby pool, attendance was higher than anticipated last weekend, but Stewart expects lower attendance numbers this week as the slides, splash play area and lazy river are shuttered.
Parks and Recreation officials on Monday were still trying to nail down changes to pool programming during the time the aquatic center elements are closed. During the evening hours, swimming lessons and adult swim typically occur in the lap pool, while the aquatic center elements remain open for business.
The pool was repainted this summer using similar specifications to the ones used when the facility first opened in 2007.
“Our concrete in those areas is not a smooth concrete, but the paint did make it slick,” Stewart said. “We’re choosing to address it now instead of waiting.”
On the Web
Gardner Aquatic Center: www.gardnerkansas.gov/pool