June 5, 2014 | Vol. 118 -- No. 7

Cheney pool should open without major repairs

Cheney’s swimming pool is scheduled to open Thursday, June 12, and if all continues to go well, the 50-year-old facility should open without having undergone any significant repairs or overhauls.

“No major stuff right now, knock on wood,” acting Parks and Recreation Department director Mark Schuller said.

Past pool openings have been predicated on replacing pumps, motors and other pieces of equipment. This year, parks supervisor Rick Engel and his staff have been doing the typical yearly fix-ups such as caulking leaks, painting and replacing lighting as needed. Schuller said they were due to have the facility’s heating system checked out this week as well.

“It’s a constant battle,” he said of the pool. “It’s a money pit, it really is.”

One change this year will be with staffing. Schuller, who is also the city’s human resources director, said they would be asking new pool manager Drew Ableman to put together a work schedule that has lifeguards taking on more duties than their usual poolside tasks.

The city won’t be hiring cashiers this year at the pool, calling on lifeguards to take on that responsibility. They will also do more of the pool day-to-day maintenance such as cleaning up in the pool house, checking chemicals and filters and operating the manual pool cleaners. Schuller said the city determined the automatic cleaners were not as efficient and as thorough in scouring grime off the pool bottom as manual devices, and opted to go with the latter this season.

As for pool rates, the only increase was in what the city charges for pool rentals to groups. Cheney had been previously charging $52 an hour for groups, well below the $85 per hour rate at Eastern Washington University’s indoor pool and significantly below the $167 an hour charge at other county pools.

The City Council approved a fee-setting resolution at its March 11 regular meeting to increase the Cheney pool group rate to $75 per hour for up to 30 people, climbing in increments to $200 an hour for 100 individuals and above.

“We looked at the minimum staffing that would be required for people using the pool and decided to charge just enough to cover our costs,” Schuller said. “We don’t really do a lot of rentals.”

Other pool fees remain unchanged. The open swim fee per person is $2.25, with two-hour open swim and adult lap swim at $1.50 per person. Family night swims are $3 per family; with Cheney resident discount passes beginning at 10 passes for $17.50.

Swimming lesson registration began June 2, and those wishing to learn are advised to register quickly.

“Swimming lessons are the most popular recreation program in the city,” Schuller said.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

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