City of Brownwood seeking lifeguards for its two pools

Steve Nash
Lifeguards are pictured on duty at the Camp Bowie Family Aquatic Center in this 2010 photo. Brownwood parks and recreation officials have started their annual spring search for lifeguards for the upcoming summer season.

Opening day at the City of Brownwood’s two swimming pools is nearly two months away, but the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has already started its spring ritual of finding lifeguards to hire.

The city began taking applications for lifeguard over Spring Break, and the response hasn’t been great. The city has received just three applications — considerably lower than what Parks and Recreation Director David Withers has expected to see.

A minimum of 32 lifeguards are needed to staff the Camp Bowie Family Aquatic Center and Wiggins Pool, Withers said. Additional lifeguards will hopefully be hired as backups.

“It seems like a low number this time of year,” Wiggins said of the three applications. “I would think by now we would have 15 or 20.”

Withers said he’s concerned, but it’s not time to panic. He said he will be contacting those who worked last year as lifeguards to ask if they want to work.

The pools are slated to open on May 31, and if there aren’t enough lifeguards hired, “I really don’t know what we’ll do,” Withers said. “I’m trying not to even go down that road.”

It could mean that the pools are open for reduced hours, Withers said.

Thirty lifeguards, working in three shifts of 10, are needed for the aquatic center, while two lifeguards are needed for Wiggins Pool, he said.

To be hired as a lifeguard, an applicant must be at least 16 and have Red Cross certification, Withers said. If a person is not certified, Withers will coordinate getting a class started. The 34-hour class would be taught by the only person Red Cross instructor in town, and lifeguards would also go through training with the city, Withers said.

In another matter involving the aquatic center, Withers said work is expected to start Wednesday on repairing cracks that are causing the pool to lose 2 to 3 inches of water a day.

The repairs are expected to take about a week, and the water level is being kept low until the leaks are repaired. Brownwood City Council members earlier approved the expenditure of up to $11,500 with Sunbelt Pool to repair leaks at the Camp Bowie Family Aquatic Center pool. 

American Leak Detection checked the pool and determined there are leaks along a majority of the expansion joins and a structural crack in the pool wall.

The structural crack was determined to be caused by shifting in the soil, council members were told. It is not unusual for that to happen with new pools, and it is anticipated that there will be no more shifting. The expansion joints have to be re-caulked periodically.

The repairs will take about a week, Withers said.