ST. JOHNSBURY — At the Kiwanis Pool it’s time to dive into summer, but it won’t be happening from the high diving board.
The pool opened yesterday for the 75th season with a general swim to begin at 1:30 p.m. The first session of swimming lessons begins on Monday.
The pool was recently painted and long-time pool director Sandy Lazerick said the lifeguard staff of 12 will be ready to go, but things have not gone all that (ahem) swimmingly for the community pool.
The pool inexplicably lost its 360,000 gallons of water and needed to be refilled, and Kiwanians have decided that the structural integrity of the high diving board is questionable and can’t be used this season.
Long-time Kiwanis member Fred Laferriere said the club likes to have the pool full of water for a couple of weeks prior to opening it up for swimming, and that was the plan for this year. Early last week the pool was filled. On Saturday, someone checking the pool noticed the water seemed a little low. By Monday, there was none.
“We went there Monday night for our [club] meeting and the pool was empty,” Laferriere said.
He said the reason for the major drainage was unknown. Theories include someone small squeezing through an opening in the concrete wall of the pump house and opening a release valve or some malfunction in a drainage flap caused by debris getting stuck and preventing it from closing fully.
The pool was refilled to be ready in time for today’s opening.
A two-person crew from Grime Nursery was doing landscaping on Thursday outside the poolhouse and Lazerick was at work inside making preparations for the season, her 12th.
“I feel like it’s a community need,” Lazerick said of her involvement. “Water safety is important for the area.”
She also said the pool is a valuable community resource for children to have a place to go in the summer.
“These kids, the minute they get out of school, they need someplace to go,” she said.
Lazerick said the lack of the high (roughly 11 feet above the water) diving board will be a disappointment, but she understands why Kiwanis made the decision.
“It’s better to mark it off-limits, then wait for something to happen,” she said.
Laferriere said he believes the welded pipe support structure for the high diving board is original to the pool.
The plan, he said, is to hold a fundraising effort to pay for a new high dive next year.
There will be four sessions of swimming lessons this summer, with the first session running from June 17 to June 28.
Lazerick said sign-ups for the free lessons are not very numerous yet, which is not surprising, as school is just ending and there hasn’t been sustained hot weather.
“It’s always slow to start,” she said. “If we’d had a hot week this week they’d be signing up like crazy.”
The lessons last throughout the morning, and after lunch the pool is open for general swim, followed by family swim.
The pool is located on Barker Avenue next to the St. Johnsbury School.