Roeland Park Aquatic Center will reopen this summer — what are other cities’ plans?

Roeland Park Aquatic Center

Roeland Park plans to reopen its Aquatic Center May 29 after having closed it last year because of public health concerns caused by COVID-19. At a regular workshop earlier this month, the city council

Roeland Park plans to reopen its Aquatic Center May 29 after having closed it last year because of public health concerns caused by COVID-19.

At a regular workshop earlier this month, the city council unanimously approved moving forward with the reopening plan, which would conform to the current Johnson County health order and be subject to change if the health order changes or is not renewed.

The center’s summer season would run from Memorial Day weekend, starting Saturday, May 29, through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6.

Roeland Park joins other Johnson County cities that are moving ahead with plans to open their municipal pools.

Roeland Park reopening details

At the Monday workshop, Roeland Park Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tony Nichols gave an overview of the reopening plan.

“The pools that opened last year, a lot of them did a ticketing system with time slots based on capacity limitations,” Nichols said. “But those aren’t in place this year, so I propose that we open as we have in every previous season, just as regular open swim.”

Roeland Park would sell daily visits, pool passes and punch cards.

The center would be open from noon to 7 p.m. for open swim, instead of noon to 8 p.m. as in previous years. Nichols said the change was “probably the most significant thing that I’m proposing here.”

The earlier closing time enables using one shift instead of two, which reduces the number of staff needed to run the facility, he said. It’s a staffing model being used by other Johnson County cities this year.

It also gives staff enough time to clean the facility during their shifts, and it complies with Kansas’ child labor statutes that require employees younger than 16 to work fewer than eight hours a day.

Ward 1 Councilmember Jan Faidley asked Nichols who would enforce face mask requirements in the pool house.

Nichols said that signage could be posted and staff could monitor compliance from the front desk.

“People are pretty used to, when they’re inside, they’re wearing a mask,” he said.

Federal funds could be used

Mayor Mike Kelly said the city can consider how it might use funds from the latest federal pandemic relief bill signed into law in March to purchase sneeze screens and other materials to help ensure social distancing at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center.

Nichols said he would be happy to give tours of the facility, probably in early May.

Pool passes would be sold and swimmers could sign up for team lessons starting May 3.

Other provisions of the plan include the following:

  • Capacity limits would be based on the ability to provide adequate spacing for social distancing. Including deck and pool areas, the facility can safely host 844 patrons spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Including grassy areas, capacity would exceed 1,000 patrons. Therefore, “there is no need to restrict capacity.”
  • Staff would clean frequently contacted surfaces, including door handles, drinking fountains and railings at least hourly.
  • Staff would sanitize restrooms and equipment daily.