By Rick Palsgrove
Summer has brought many seeking relief from the heat to the Groveport Aquatic Center and city officials are taking steps to manage the large crowds and to keep them safe.
Groveport City Council and city administrators stepped up police presence in response to security complaints from patrons at the pool and also instituted new maximum occupancy rules.
“Police presence will be increased on weekends and especially on hot days,” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall.
Groveport Recreation Director Kyle Lund said the security complaints involve patron altercations, including physical fights and verbal confrontations.
“To my knowledge, we have had three issues this year thus far,” said Lund.
The new maximum capacity policy reads as follows: “No day pass patrons (including those with pre-purchased day passes) will be permitted in the facility once 800 patrons have entered the facility. Only season pass holders (and their paying guests) will be permitted to enter the facility once 800 patrons have entered the facility. No person shall enter the facility once 1,000 persons have entered the facility. Season pass holders (and guests in their immediate party) will be admitted ahead of persons who have a pre-purchased day pass and persons needing to purchase a day pass.”
Hall said the new maximum capacity policy will enhance safety by making the amount of people in areas lifeguards cover more manageable. She said fewer people in the water at one time could also help reduce the possibility of injuries to pool patrons caused by overcrowding.
The previous maximum capacity was unofficially around 1,000 to 1,100.
“The facility never used an actual number in the past,” said Lund. “We called maximum capacity when lifeguards felt that they could no longer scan their zones properly. The 1,000 to 1,100 was an approximation. If a lifeguard does not feel that he or she can properly scan their assigned zone due to a large number of patrons, he or she notifies management. Management analyzes that particular area and other areas in the facility and talks to lifeguard staff and then determines if maximum capacity should be called.”
According to Lund, there are between 18 to 22 lifeguards scheduled per shift.
“We currently have 65 lifeguards employed, including head lifeguards and assistant managers,” said Lund.
Lund said the pool officials still have the ability to call maximum capacity before it reaches 800.
“It really depends on how many people are in the water, not just in the facility,” said Lund. “On really warm days, there may be more people in the water as compared to days when the temperature is in the low 80’s.”
Lund said that, so far this season, the pool has reached maximum capacity more than in years past. He said it varies yearly based on temperature, but normally maximum capacity is reached no more than six times per season in the past.
“We hit maximum capacity nine times so far this year,” said Lund.
“That’s more than in a usual season,” added Hall.
Council will review the new maximum capacity policy to see how well it worked as well as possible admission rate revisions after the pool closes for the season.
The Groveport Recreation Department is always looking for American Red Cross Certified Lifeguards. Persons interested in employment should contact Aquatics Manager Steve Riegler at 614-836-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lifeguards are afforded a complimentary pass to the Groveport Recreation Center and Groveport Aquatic Center during their employment.