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Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham hopes to reopen its pool for limited use by the fall.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Mt. Hood Community College aquatic center will remain closed through the summer months as the college works through repair and staffing obstacles. Winter storm damage and a staffing shortage have combined to keep the public swimming pool closed this summer at Mt. Hood Community College.

The college had hoped it would open the aquatic center at a minimal schedule by summer, but after noticing damages caused by winter weather and the lack of adequate staffing, the decision was made to close the pool until repairs are made.

"We just had this cascade of maintenance problems," said Jessica Roberts, director of marketing and communication for the college.

Some of the work includes repairing drains, pumps, liners and ceiling damage from the winter storm.

The continued closure of the pools means the canceling of swim lessons, summer camps, swim meets and general recreational opportunities for the community.

"One of the things that we are working really hard [at] is that when we have people come back, they are safe," said Kim Hyatt, dean of health, physical education, athletics, aquatics and recreation.

Hyatt said her hope is to have the aquatic center open for limited use by the fall. She also recognized the difficulty of hiring a new staff.

When the pools closed in March 2020, the college laid-off most of its aquatic center staff because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With plans to reopen the pool there is a need to hire people to maintain the aquatic center.

One major challenge is finding certified lifeguards.

Hyatt said most lifeguard certification programs didn't operate during the pandemic, which left many of those lifeguards unable to renew certifications.


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