How staffing issues are affecting Joplin’s public pools

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin Parks & Rec kicked off its summer swim season, but a staff shortage has made pool operations difficult.

The city announced recently that Schifferdecker Aquatic Center will be the only pool to open to the public.

Joplin says Schifferdecker will be the only public pool regularly open to the public, however, the entire pool is not open.

“Our number one priority at the aquatic centers is the safety of our visitors and staff,” said Paul Bloomberg, Parks and Recreation Director. “We need approximately 90 lifeguards on staff to operate safely. This number may sound high, but many of the staff can only work 15 or 20 hours a week due to their sports and other extra-curricular activities.”

Because there are many features at the pool, Schifferdecker Aquatic Center needs a large staff of lifeguards to ensure the safety of swimmers.

City officials say the lazy river and the two slides located in this area will be closed until further notice due to the staffing shortage.

“It’s great to have many different activities at the pool, however, each feature requires supervision from trained lifeguards,” said Jessica Johnson, Recreation Coordinator who oversees Joplin’s aquatics program.”

Though SAC is the only pool available to the public, city workers say Cunningham Aquatic Center will be open during the summer in order to host various summer programs, such as morning and evening swim lessons, Junior Lifeguarding training, and other activities for patrons. Officials say Ewert pool is also closed until further notice.

Those interested in becoming a lifeguard can apply at the Human Resources Department at Joplin City Hall located at 602 S. Main or online at www.joplinmo.org/jobs.