Lifeguard shortage forces Roeland Park to reduce pool hours

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ROELAND PARK, Kan. — A lifeguard shortage throughout the Kansas City metro has forced city leaders to scale back hours at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple weeks. The council’s decision to raise the pay rate and offer those incentives I think has gotten a lot of people to apply,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tony Nichols said. “We’re up to 22 lifeguards. With that amount of staffing we’re going to open on an abbreviated schedule.”

This summer the pool will be open four days a week on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. 

The Roeland Park Stingrays swim team will have a season this year. Nichols said the city won’t be offering swim lessons at the Aquatic Center until more staff is hired. 

The city will not limit capacity at the Aquatic Center. Nichols said guests will not be required to wear a mask while in the water, but it is recommended masks be worn while using the changing areas and visiting the concession stand. 

Concessions will be available, but the menu will shift to more pre-packaged foods and will feature fewer hot food items.

The 2021 season will be the first year guests can enjoy new equipment at the Aquatic Center. City crews recently completed a $1.6 million Capital Improvement Project at the center. The renovation includes new slides, a children’s splash pad area and new shade coverings throughout the facility. 

The Aquatic Center will open for the 2021 season on May 31.

Anyone interested in applying to be a lifeguard this summer can apply on the city website or email Nichols directly at anichols@roelandpark.org.

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