Lifeguard shortage shutters more than a dozen city pools

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin municipal and neighborhood pools were originally set to open for the summer on Friday, but a day before opening, city officials said about half the pools would not open then and would open Monday instead.

Still, on Sunday KXAN learned more than a dozen pools will still be closed Monday. The city says the delays are due to a shortage of available lifeguards.

Officials with the city’s Aquatic Division said projections of the number of lifeguards available on Monday did not materialize, and it is necessary to keep 12 of the 32 functioning pool facilities closed until further notice.

Two pools, Reed Pool and Montopolis Pool, are temporarily out of service for maintenance.

Some neighbors in Hyde Park were a little confused Sunday. Shipe Pool, which is right in the middle of Hyde Park, is one of the city’s neighborhood pools that opened Friday the 6th. But, the gate was locked two days later, and signs were up reading, “Due to staffing, the pool is closed.”

The schedule says Shipe Pool is open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, no lifeguards or staff were on duty Sunday. A posted sign directs patrons to Bartholomew Pool.

Hopeful swimmers in the neighborhood are wondering what happened, and are left sweating…er waiting…it out.

“We were just walking form my house. We came up and saw that there were no lifeguards, and we were like, ‘Uh-oh, that’s not a good sign,'” said 13-year-old Rachel Horowitz.

Hyde Park resident Tim Hamblin often visits Shipe Pool during the summer, and he’s hoping the lifeguard shortage will get worked out soon.

“It’s frustrating when you’re expecting it to be open,” Hamblin said. “There was no warning, no, ‘Maybe tomorrow it’s closed.'”

As of Friday, city officials said 300 lifeguard positions out of 750 total still needed to be filled.

Even with the delays in openings, more pools will be available as opposed to 2013, according to officials. They add that pool openings have been staggered in recent years.

The city says they will continue recruiting efforts to fill the open lifeguard spots. They will host a job fair Tuesday.

IN DEPTH: Qualifications for City of Austin lifeguards

For information call 512 974-9331 and to apply for a lifeguard position, click here.

Here is the updated list of openings:

Pools Open on Monday, June 9, 2014
1. Bartholomew Pool
2. Northwest Pool
3. Mabel Davis Pool
4. Garrison Pool
5. Barton Springs Pool
6. Deep Eddy Pool
7. Stacy Pool
8. Balcones Pool
9. Brentwood Pool
10. Canyon Vista Pool
11. Dick Nichols Pool
12. Dittmar Pool
13. Dottie Jordan Pool
14. Dove springs Pool
15. Martin Pool
16. Murchison Pool
17. Patterson Pool
18. Ramsey Pool
20. Rosewood
21. Westenfield

Pools Closed on Monday, June 9
1. Montopolis
2. Govalle
3. Metz Pool
4. Parque Zaragosa
5. Civitan
6. West Austin
7. Givens
8. Kennemer
9. Shipe
10. Shipe Wading
11. Gillis
12. Little Stacy
13. Walnut Creek
14. Reed Pool

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