Springfield’s Splash Zone recruits, trains lifeguards for pool season

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

As Springfield’s Splash Zone Aquatic Center prepares to open Memorial Day weekend for pool season, officials are working on improvements for the 17-year-old facility.

With its 400 feet of water slides and 280-foot lazy river, Splash Zone, 300 Eagle City Road, will open Saturday, May 27. The center also includes a zero-depth beach entry, a sprayground, a 25-yard competition pool and one-meter diving boards.

Daily hours are noon to 7 p.m. through Aug. 13.

“Just like your house, we have some things that are getting to need replaced,” said Miste Adams, who oversees Splash Zone as recreation superintendent for the National Trail Parks and Recreation District.

Crews last week wrapped up painting the complex and are performing minor maintenance. The pool was expected to be filled over the weekend.

Splash Zone offers several themed events to attract families and keep them coming back, including Tie-Dye Tuesdays and bingo, Adams said.

“We’re trying to bring in more things to do while you are there,” she said.

New this year will be the Cardboard Classic Regatta, planned for July 16.

“You build your boat, you bring it and we have a little race,” Adams said. “I’ve always thought it would be fun.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Splash Zone includes a total staff of 65 to 70 people, including management, guest services and lifeguards.

Ideally, Adams said, they like to have 35 to 40 guards on staff with about 18 to 20 of them working at any one time.

Because of a nationwide shortage of lifeguards, the park district began its own training program.

“We do it all in-house,” she said.

After its first round of training earlier in the year, Adams said the found they would not have enough lifeguards for the summer.

“Obviously, we cannot open if we do not have enough lifeguards,” she said.

They put the word out about a second session that was conducted last week that attracted about 15 new lifeguards for training at Wittenberg University’s indoor pool.

People who initially wanted jobs in guest services at Splash Zone became interested in being lifeguards.

“We started a referral contest with the staff,” Adams said, noting small prizes.

She said new lifeguards include relatives of past lifeguards at Splash Zone, “lots of families, siblings, second generation people.”

“Our Splash Zone staff members are absolutely amazing,” Adams said. “They recruit amongst themselves.”

The mid-August pool closing is typical because many lifeguards go back to college about that time, she said.

Adams reminded families that children 17 or under must be accompanied by an adult, a policy Splash Zone and other venues implemented last year.

She said Splash Zone attracts groups from out of the area, including day care centers from Dayton and Piqua.

“We are probably one of the cleanest, safest public pools around,” she said, “with a good price.”

How to go

Open: May 27 – Aug. 13, noon to 7 p.m. (August 14-20, limited hours and features)

Admission: Adults, $8; Youth, $6; 3 and under, free

Fitness time: Starts June 5, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.