The symbol that summer has arrived could be the last day of school or it could be the Memorial Day weekend. However, Paducah Parks Services Department employees know summer has arrived when they hear the buzz of happy voices as folks enjoy the Noble Park Pool. This facility takes a significant number of people to operate and maintain. For this edition of Ask Paducah, Recreation Superintendent Amie Clark provides an overview of the Noble Park Pool operations.
When was the pool built? The pool was built in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The renovation project in 2013 was the fourth time the pool received upgrades which included a new filtration system, pool liner, slides, diving boards, canopies, deck equipment, spray pad, and a renovation to the concession side of the pool house.
How many people visit the Noble Park Pool? On average, the Noble Park Pool sees 150 visitors per day. It is open from Memorial Day weekend until the first part of August.
How big is the pool, and how many people does it take to operate it? The pool is approximately 25 yards wide and 45 yards long. It is just slightly smaller than a regulation pool used in competitive swimming. The pool also has a dive well, a slide area, spray pad, and a zero depth entry area. It takes 309,600 gallons of water to fill the pool. Each shift during the pool season requires eight lifeguards, five pool attendants, one head lifeguard, and the pool manager. A Certified Pool Operator (CPO) also is on staff for each shift. The Parks Department currently has three CPOs. The certification, which is valid for three years, requires specialized training and testing. Regarding the concessions area, this year the Parks Department contracted with Bear’s BBQ to provide staffing and the delicious food options.
What is the process to prepare the pool for opening day? The first steps are to drain the pool completely and then pressure-wash the interior to remove any algae, leaves, or debris. Then, the pool is filled, and chemicals are added. We clean the slides, diving boards, and other pieces of equipment. We install the canopies and distribute picnic tables, benches, lounge chairs, and umbrellas around the facility. The mechanical equipment is tested and any replacement parts are purchased and installed.
How is the pool area and water maintained on a daily basis? Each day, staff puts out the umbrellas, trash cans, and safety equipment. The pool deck is regularly cleaned of trash and debris to help keep bugs and bees away. The pool water is checked four times each day: early in the morning before swimming lessons, right before the pool opens for the day, half way through the afternoon, and just before closing prior to evening swim lessons or private reservations. Staff takes a sample of the pool water and uses a test kit to make sure the chemicals and pH are in balance. Also, the alkalinity of the pool is tested each week. The part of the filtration system, known as “the pit” by staff, is cleaned weekly. The pit is where the filters are housed which catch any pool debris. That area is drained weekly. The filters are cleaned and then refilled. This is done when the pool is closed to the public because we have to turn off the system.
Why are swim diapers allowed only in the spray pad area and not in the pool? The pool and the spray pad area run on separate filtration and chemical systems. The spray pad water is completely filtered and turns over every 30 minutes. The pool filtration system takes about six hours to complete a cycle. The KY State Department of Health regulates filtration for swim areas with and without swim diaper use. Our facility rules regarding swim diaper use are based on regulations set by the Department of Health.
Why are there breaks each hour that require patrons to exit the pool? We take a ten minute break each hour to give the lifeguards a chance to take a quick break and check the pool water. It also allows patrons a brief rest to prevent overexertion in the water. Plus, it’s a good time for the patrons to visit the restroom or purchase a snack from the concession area.
Why is there a dress code for the pool? For safety and health reasons, we want each swimmer to be in proper swimming attire. We allow customers to wear t-shirts in the pool over their bathing suits, but due to risk of entanglement, swimmers are not allowed to wear them on the slides or diving boards. We also require lined swimming trunks and suits to be worn because they are made to hold up against the chemicals in the pool and are more sanitary than wearing street clothes. All of our policies and procedures are made to ensure the safety of our customers and to better maintain our facility and equipment. We make all accommodations for personal religious attire allowed by the Health Department.
The 2017 season for the Noble Park Pool is May 27 through August 8. The pool is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 until 5 p.m. It is closed to the public on Mondays. It will be open Independence Day. Pool admission is $6 for adults and for children at least five years old, $3.50 for children four years old and younger, and $3.50 for seniors. For more information including details about swimming lessons, Friday Swim Nights, and pool rental, visit www.paducahky.gov/noble-park-pool.
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(Edition 14 – June 2, 2017)