(Joplin, MO) – Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff of the summer swim season in Joplin.
As 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 29. As the largest pool of Joplin’s three aquatic centers, opening this center allows the City of Joplin to serve the largest number of residents with current staffing. Ewert and Cunningham Aquatic Centers will be open during the summer in order to host various summer programs, such as swim lessons, Aqua Zumba, Junior Lifeguarding training, and other activities to patrons.
To date, City staff has hired and trained 42 lifeguards; however, the Department needs at least 90 lifeguards to safely operate all three 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.”
Parks staff point to the changes in amenities offered at today’s pools as another reason the number is high.
“Each of our locations offer many more features than a standard rectangular pool, which was common years ago,” said Jessica Johnson, Recreation Coordinator, who oversees Joplin’s aquatics program. “Everyone loves the water slides, spray-grounds, the lazy river, diving boards, and other amenities. These are fun, but each feature requires more eyes to watch the water so we can quickly respond to an emergency.”
The Department is still recruiting lifeguards and will host a training on May 21 and 22 and another in June for applicants.
“Each year our goal is to open all three pools, but it ultimately depends on how many people apply and complete lifeguard training.” 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 Street or online at joplinmo.org/jobs.
2021 Pool Information:
Schifferdecker Aquatic Center, 4th Street and Schifferdecker Avenue, will be open seven days a week, starting Saturday, May 29. Hours are 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays until 8 p.m. Admission is $5.50 for visitors age 15 & under and $6.50 for visitors 16 years old and over. There is no charge for children age two and under. The 250-person capacity limit set in 2020 has been lifted for the 2021 season.
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.
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.
About Joplin Parks & Recreation:
The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department provides quality parks, services, and programs to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities. Learn more at www.joplinparks.org.
Lynn Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204