Establishing The Pool Season

Noting a recent question on the Governors listserv about extending the length of the pool season, residents may be interested to know who sets the pool schedule and how the schedule currently is determined.

Chris Gamber, who serves as the POA liaison to the Recreation Committee, kindly has detailed for us how the process works, what factors go into setting the length of the pool season and what issues there are in considering expanding the pool season.

The Recreation Committee decides (with board approval) when the pool will open and close. But, the extension of the pool season (beyond what would be typical for our community) would be a POA decision, and that would come up either on recommendation of the Recreation Committee or via residents’ requests.

The decision, in large part, comes down to weighing the costs versus the benefits for the community. One of the main costs of extending the season would be the need to extend the pool contract to ensure that an attendant is available to make sure the pool is closed properly at night. Without someone actively cleaning up the pool area (either an attendant or relying on volunteers), the pool is often left in disarray. Tasks that must be attended to include: returning chairs and chaises to their places; picking up toys, kickboards and other items left around the pool deck and in the pool, itself; cleaning skimmers; securing bathrooms and kitchen; cleaning bathrooms; and emptying trash.

Also, the pool season is set based on when we can reasonably expect the pool to start becoming usable and is slated to end when can we reasonably expect interest in using the pool start to wane. Typically, the first couple weeks of the pool opening (in mid-May) the water has a good chance of feeling like recently melted ice cubes and while some children still find it enticing, a lot of residents avoid the water. Unfortunately, the daytime heat around the beginning of May is deceptive because we still are encountering cooler nights at the end of April and beginning of May. So while we may get a couple of 90 degree days, the warmth the pool water gains during from the sun quickly dissipates during the night.

Another issue is the logistics of opening the pool. The contract and start date are set months in advance based on cost, and also when we think the pool usage would support opening it. That also means that we don’t have a lot of flexibility to shift opening dates if, at the last minute, we realize that we are going to encounter warmer than expected temperatures. Plus there is the fact that it takes a lot of volunteer hours to get things in shape to open the pool, and some of that work is still happening up until opening day.

On the other side of the coin, we do have a little flexibility to adjust the mid-September closing date based on the weather. For instance last year, the Thursday before the pool was to close, the POA (upon residents’ requests) voted to keep the pool open one extra week. In large part this was because the long range weather forecast showed temperatures would be in the mid-90’s that entire week. However, even with those daytime highs, the nights started to get a little cooler and the water temperature over that week began to noticeably drop. When the pushed-back closing weekend arrived, we had a bit of rain and the water was recently melted ice cubes again.

Many thanks to Chris for sharing his insights on the complexities of scheduling the pool season. Also no article about the pool would be complete without a serious thank-you to Barry Bassett, our Recreation Committee Chair, and to the rest of the committee for their many volunteer hours: thank you!