Despite COVID bumps in road, Eisenschmidt Pool ready for summer
Despite past COVID interruptions and a current need for more employees, the Eisenschmidt Pool, a mainstay in St. Helens for over 80 years, is getting ready for its summer season.
Although the pool has had its ups and downs, navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, it's prepping for a busy summer.
The pool is run by the Greater St. Helens Aquatic District, which receives tax money from property-owners within roughly the area of the St. Helens School District.
While the pool offers aerobic classes, ongoing lap swims and swim lessons, pool manager Anne Scholz, who has served in that role for 20 years, admits the pandemic has had an impact on the number of swim lessons, as well as the number of pool employees.
"We used to have (pre-pandemic) about 300 kids in a day doing swimming lessons," Scholz said. "Now, this summer, we're taking about 100 a day. That's just because I can't get staff. I'm struggling so hard for staff."
Scholz continued, "I just need more help. If somebody shows up sick, we have no subs. I don't hire for just subbing, because you can't learn the job by just taking a few hours a week. It's a part-time job. We have PERS, so you can get on PERS after six months, which is a great benefit."
Currently, Eisenschmidt Pool has 15 staffers, but Scholz would like several more. Job applications are available at the pool itself.
Scholz said the pool's summer schedule begins Monday, June 20, but lessons don't start until June 27. Starting June 20, the pool is planning on being open Saturdays for the first time in a while.
If you would like to begin a swimming program, don't let your age get in the way.
Scholz said, "We have a 96-year-old woman who has come every day, in my 20 years, and she is still coming. She is amazing."
Scholz added, "Swimming is the best. It's a full-body workout, if you're going to lap swim. We live on the river, and it's very important for kids to learn how to swim."
This pool was originally built after three children drowned in the Columbia River back in summer 1936.
"This pool was built in 1939," Scholz said. "It's very old, and we still have lots of the old systems, but it's a beautiful pool."
The pool was built during the Great Depression under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, a relief program aimed at getting unemployed people back to work by having them work on a wide variety of projects. Eisenschmidt is one of eight functioning WPA pools left in the United States.
Speaking of the pool, Scholz said, "We're very proud of it and we would love for you to learn to swim here. We'll always help you. Don't be shy."
You can learn more about the summer program by visiting sthelenspool.com.
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