After being closed all last summer, the Mt. Hood Community College aquatic center is scheduled to reopen to the public fully on Monday, June 13, under the leadership of Andrew Jackman.
Jackman, the school's new aquatic center manager, comes to MHCC with 15 years of experience including work in aquatics, general recreation, finance and emergency management. Jackman relocated to East County from Santa Cruz, California, where he worked as the cities aquatic supervisor.
"The thing that made me really excited about coming here was that it was the largest competitive swimming facility in the Pacific Northwest," Jackman said. "With that and the prospect to reinvigorate the facility and make it what it once was, the position was very enticing."
Due to winter storm damage, staffing shortages and other maintenance issues, the aquatic center was closed to the public last summer.
Unfortunately, some of those issues have persisted through the school year. One hurdle Jackman already has had to face has been hiring. "Usually, we would have roughly about 100 members of aquatic center staff in order to function," Jackman said. "A little more in the summer and a little less in the school year."
As of early May, Jackman reported he was in the process of hiring 20 full-time employees at the center. Jackman said that the slow hiring process is in part due to a lack of lifeguard training that occurred during the pandemic.
"During the pandemic there wasn't a lot of training going on, so we have been having to do a lot of that ourselves," Jackman said. "We are trying to get those staff trained and get to our former levels of staffing as soon as possible."
One way Jackman and MHCC are attempting to gain more lifeguards is by paying for more of the training costs. Usually, lifeguard training is around $250, but the college has been able to reduce the fee to $50.
To ensure that the facilities are staffed appropriately, Jackman and the college plan to reopen the aquatic center in stages during the early summer months.
During the week of May 23, the school's larger rental groups will begin using the facility. From Monday, May 30, to Saturday, June 11, the outdoor pool is scheduled to open to the public for limited lap swim periods.
The indoor facility is then scheduled to open to the public on Monday, June 13, for lap swimming, recreational swimming and aqua aerobics.
Jackman was excited to announce that improvements and renovations also are planned for the aquatic center.
"We also have some really exciting projects lined up," Jackman said. "Right now, we are working with the Gresham Chamber of Commerce to secure a state grant that will help us build a roof over the 50-meter pool."
Since the roof project is still in its infancy, Jackman didn't say when the project is slated to be completed or go into great depth about it.
During its closure, the aquatic center did receive a few improvements including work done to the main entrance of the facility and other maintenance improvements. Jackman also said that the indoor portion of the center will likely have to close after the summer for more repairs.
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