Click on the Play button below for a video tour: learn about the positives of the pool and the Aquatics Coordinator's Wish Lists
The Aquatics Coordinator's Notes on the Current Pool
The Carbondale Pool was constructed in 1978 and 1979. The last major building renovation, and construction of the wading pool, was in 1986. The current PVC liner for the lap pool was installed in 2006 with a 15-year warranty. The wading pool was re-plastered in the summer of 2018. In 2017 the wading pool was upgraded with a new automated chemical system and new feed tank for chlorine. Two new heaters were installed in 2016, and one new lap pool heater was installed in 2018.
Our pool equipment is updated and does a great job of keeping our pool sanitized. However, there are several major infrastructure projects that we are unable to complete without major renovations. These include: ceiling and rust damage in the mechanical room and chemical storage area, ADA compliance throughout the bath house/front desk, privacy stall in the changing room, family changing rooms, and showers. We have also had some ground seepage issues near the wading pool over the last three years; this was the cause for the re-plaster.
The current pool was constructed when the population for Carbondale was around 2,000 people. The town of Carbondale has more than tripled in size since then. In 2019, 8,934 people were admitted into our pool. Several times throughout the season, we had to turn people away due to max capacity, or when scheduled programming didn’t allow for open swim. Watch the video above titled “Pool Info” for more detailed information. This video also explains why people always think our pool may be too warm (lap swimmers) or too cold (open recreation swimmers).
Our pool programming includes: lap swim, open swim, water aerobics, and swim lessons. Our only current amenities to the pool are the diving board and slide. These can each only be used one at a time to prevent head-to-head collisions. This is also the reason we close the deep end of the pool when these amenities are open. On busy days this can overcrowd the shallow areas. Historically, between 2015 and 2019, the diving board and slide were used for less than an hour per day and accounted for 45% of our rescues.
Another 45% of our rescues occurred in the little square by the stairs. Many families prefer to use the lap pool over the wading pool due to their family dynamics and because kids want to run, jump, and play. After the steps, our pool drops off to 3.5 feet which is often over the heads of most of our patrons in this area. Additionally, this section of the pool is only 10 feet away from the bathrooms. Our rescues here are usually kids stepping off the steps into water above their heads, or kids running from the changing rooms and jumping directly into the pool. Our biggest distraction for Lifeguards on the stand is kids running and jumping into the pool or flipping into the pool from the gutter. Flipping and diving into the shallow end of the pool after repeated warnings not to is the number one reason we ask young patrons to leave the pool.
The pool industry is also facing a constant shortage of staff. Our pool currently takes 14 lifeguards to keep it operational and prevent employee burnout. On average we get 11 lifeguards per year. The rest are pulled from full-time and part-time staff in the Recreation Department. Additionally, we have 5 swim instructors, and this year we are are still short one new hire. We can currently only hold swim lessons at a specific time due to other programming needs so this limits our flexibility in hiring new swim instructors.
The Carbondale Pool in its current location is a calming and relaxing place to be with the shade trees, green grasses, and beautiful view of Sopris. However, the 24 elm trees that surround the pool clog the filters for 2-3 weeks at the beginning of the season and produce two dumpsters full of leaves at the end of the season. The trees do not always provide enough shade so we do offer umbrellas. These tend to blow over and present a risk to patrons during high winds, and I replace one or two a year because of this.
With creativity and design on a slightly expanded footprint, we have the option of creating a pool that will meet our growing population. We could have a bathhouse, office space, front desk space, and standard amenities such as private showers and family changing rooms. We could have a pool that has places for kids to explore and interact with water, run and jump, and do things other than front flip into the shallow end of a pool. We could have a pool that allows programming for all-day lap swim, has all-day open swim, water aerobics and other fitness classes, and multiple time options for swim lessons.