As with many services and amenities, the future of the outdoor swimming pool and spray park was uncertain – up until recently.
With only a few weeks to prepare, Taylor Hayes, Aquatics manager, and her staff, managed to get the outdoor pool and spray park summer-ready for patrons.
The pool was closed entirely in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Effective June 4, it will be open Friday through Sunday, from noon to 7 p.m., until Sept. 6 (Labor Day weekend).
“We’ve updated a lot of it last year since we were closed, so I’m hoping that when people come in, they’re like, ‘This looks so nice.’”
Taylor, who also manages the indoor pool, said she plans to extend the number of days the outdoor pool is open as soon as possible.
“We’re hoping to be able to open on Thursdays as well, but it just depends on the staff that comes onboard and how soon they’re able to finish all the paperwork and whatnot,” she said.
The outdoor pool features a zero-depth entry point with a deep end reaching 12 feet, two diving boards, a three-story twisting waterslide, and a separate kiddie pool. The above-ground splash pad has a toddler slide, water tumble buckets, a helicopter structure that sprays water, and more. There is also a covered patio for eating and a three-tiered deck for lounging with plenty of lounge chairs and tables.
Unlike previous years, there will not be a snack bar on site, but patrons are welcome to bring their own food and drinks. Alcohol and glass are prohibited. For safety and sanitation reasons, patrons are asked to eat in the designated patio area where there are tables. Sanitation wipes will be available to wipe down chairs, tables, etc.
Life jackets are available on a “first come, first serve” basis. Guests may also bring their own, but they must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
As for fees associated with using the outdoor pool, Taylor wanted to clear up any confusion the community might have, noting that it is an MWR facility and not an amenity provided by housing.
“Basically … what they’re paying for when they come in mainly is our lifeguards’ wages and operating expenses … only a small portion of that actually goes back into our pockets, but we have to charge because it’s a Category B facility,” Taylor explained. “We’re not receiving as much funding as Category A facilities, like the indoor pool.”
Admission is free for those 2 years and younger. For all others, daily admission is $5 per person. Guests may also opt to purchase a 15 visit punch card for $65, or choose between individual and family memberships, for which cost is based on rank.
Individual pass pricing is as follows: E-1 through E-5 is $80, E-6 through E-9 is $85, and O1-O10/DoD civilians is $90. Family passes are $145 for E-1 through E-5, $155 for E-6 through E-9, and $165 for O1-O10/DoD civilians. Transactions for punch cards and passes will be handled at the outdoor pool.
It’s a pretty good deal in the eyes of Aquatics staff.
“They’re getting roughly the same value that they were with the previous family passes, it was just scaled down to accommodate the 43 days of the season as opposed to the 75,” said St. Julian Cox III, Aquatics assistant manager. “The wages of our lifeguards have also gone up because cost of living went up, so that’s one of the trade-offs that we have to make in order to be open.”
Taylor said initially they were not going to offer season passes, but then reconsidered after an overwhelming number of people expressed a desire for them via social media.
“At first we weren’t going to do the family passes … COVID mitigations are changing, and so we didn’t want to offer them and then halfway through summer, and them get strict again with COVID regulations,” Taylor explained. “The passes might not be a great value for those only planning to come a few times in the summer, but if they plan on coming all weekend, it will save them a lot of money.”
Guests are expected to abide by the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance on mask wearing, which extends to Department of Defense guidance and states that anyone who is fully vaccinated, and at least two weeks have passed, is not required to wear a mask.
Patrons should also be mindful that refunds will not be issued in the event of inclement weather.
“People need to make sure that they’re checking the weather before they come to our facilities,” Cox said.
The outdoor pool and splash park is located at the Courtyard on Brainard Avenue. It is open to the public. Those who are 13 years and older may go unaccompanied with a valid ID. Anyone under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. There is no water fountain on site, so guests should bring their own water.
For more information, visit www.Gordon.ArmyMWR.com, or call 706-791-8053.