Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff of the summer swim season in Joplin. Like many cities nationwide, Joplin’s Parks and Recreation department is experiencing lifeguard staffing challenges causing pool operations to be modified.
Schifferdecker Aquatic Center will be the only pool to open to the public on Saturday, May 28. As the largest pool of Joplin aquatic centers, opening this center allows the City to serve the largest number of residents with current staffing. Cunningham Aquatic Center will be open during the summer in order to host various summer programs, such as morning and evening swim lessons, Junior Lifeguarding training, and other activities for patrons.
To date, City staff has hired and trained 42 lifeguards; however, the Department needs at least 90 lifeguards to safely operate both aquatic centers during the season.
“Our number one priority at the aquatic centers is the safety of our visitors and staff,” said Paul Bloomberg, Parks and Recreation Director. “We need approximately 90 lifeguards on staff to operate safely. This number may sound high, but many of the staff can only work 15 or 20 hours a week due to their sports and other extra-curricular activities.”
The changes in offered amenities at today’s pools are another reason the City needs to have nearly 100 guards hired to operate all three pools.
“It’s great to have many different activities at the pool, however, each feature requires supervision from trained lifeguards,” said Jessica Johnson, Recreation Coordinator who oversees Joplin’s aquatics program.
With a limited number of staff this year, Schifferdecker Aquatic Center will open the large competition pool which contains two diving boards, a rock-climbing wall, two water slides, two floatable features, and a basketball goal for patrons. The children’s water playground area will be open, as well as the beach area that offers zero-depth entry. The lazy river and the two slides located in this area will be closed until further notice due to the staffing shortage.
Bloomberg noted that planning for the new Ewert Splash Park will begin later this year. The splash park is included in the list of the Parks and Stormwater Sales Tax projects, which voters renewed last year. “Splash
parks offer a fun water recreational area and are not labor-intensive like aquatic centers, but still provide a great summer activity for our community.”
The Parks and Recreation Department is still recruiting lifeguards for this year and will host a training in June for applicants. “We appreciate the public’s understanding, and look forward to seeing everyone at Schifferdecker,” said Johnson.
Johnson encourages anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard to apply at the Human Resources Department at Joplin City Hall located at 602 S. Main or online at www.joplinmo.org/jobs.
2022 Pool Information:
Schifferdecker Aquatic Center, located at 4th Street and Schifferdecker Avenue, will be open seven days a week, starting Saturday, May 28. Hours are 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays until 8 p.m. Admission is $5.50 for visitors aged 15 & under and $6.50 for visitors 16 years old and over. There is no charge for children aged two and under. Children aged 11 and under must be accompanied by someone 16 or older in order to enter an Aquatic Center.
CLOSING for SWIM MEETS: Schifferdecker will be closed July 8 through July 10 and July 23 through July 24, closing at 6 p.m. July 22 for swim meets. During these weekends, Cunningham Aquatic Center will be open to the public.
Season swim passes are available to purchase at Joplin Athletic Complex at 3301 W. 1st Street in Joplin. Scholarships are available to those who qualify. “Free swim” will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at Schifferdecker Aquatic Center during the summer.
The City of Joplin has a no-refund policy. Rain checks will be issued for inclement weather, contamination, or equipment failure only if the pool is to be closed for the remainder of the day. All events and schedules are subject to change without notice. Please visit the website or call the pool/main office to confirm information.
For more information about the pools, season passes, swim lessons, or prices, please call the Joplin Parks and Recreation office at 417-625-4750 or visit www.joplinparks.org.