Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff of the summer swim season at Joplin’s aquatic centers. On Saturday, May 26 Schifferdecker and Cunningham Aquatic Centers will be opening to the public from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, May 27 Schifferdecker and Ewert Aquatic Centers will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Typically, all 3 aquatic centers (Schifferdecker, Ewert, and Cunningham) open for the weekend, however, due to lifeguard shortages, the aquatic centers will be shifting to a modified schedule for 2018.
“The number one priority at the City of Joplin aquatic centers is the safety of the visitors,” said Jessica Johnson, Recreation Coordinator who directly oversees the aquatic program. “While it is unfortunate to close the pools, it is for the benefit of safety for all the visitors.”
The city pools are staffed by American Red Cross-certified lifeguards and need approximately 90 lifeguards on staff to operate all 3 pools throughout the summer. “Since our pools have so many amenities, such as numerous slides and other features, we require more lifeguards to safely watch the pool, unlike standard rectangular pools,” said Johnson.
“At this time, we are short about 15 to 20 lifeguards to fully staff the pools during the summer. We have been recruiting lifeguards since February,” said Johnson. “Lifeguard shortages are a nationwide issue pools are facing. Unfortunately, the trend has now found us.”
The Department is still recruiting lifeguards and will host a training the first part of June for applicants. “Our goal to eventually open all 3 pools to their normal schedule, but we will need more people to apply and complete the training.” said Johnson. “Anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard can apply at the Human Resources Department at Joplin City Hall located at 602 S. Main.”
Schifferdecker Aquatic Center, located at 4th and Schifferdecker, will be open 7 days a week from 1:00-6:00pm and cost $4.00 for visitors 15 & under and $5.00 for visitors 16 & up.
Ewert Aquatic Center, located at 7th & Murphy Blvd., will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 1:00pm – 6:00pm. Cost is $2.50 for visitors 15 & under and $3.50 for visitors 16 & up.
Cunningham Aquatic Center, located at 26th & Maiden Lane, will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1:00pm – 6:00pm and cost $3.00 for visitors 15 & under and $4.00 for visitors 16 & up.
There is no charge for children 2 and under at any of the pools.
The Parks & Recreation Department is also selling season swim passes. They 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.