Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017

Harvard preps for aquatic center opening

After what seemed like a never-ending winter, Harvard Parks & Recreation officials are getting a late start preparing the aquatic center for summer activity.

“It’s set us back a little bit and not giving us as much time as we’d like,” said Mike Clingingsmith, superintendent of the Parks & Recreation Department.

Nevertheless, Clingingsmith said the aquatic center should open Memorial Day weekend as expected. Beginning Saturday, June 7, the aquatic center will be open daily.

“The big thing this year will be our swimming classes,” said Clingingsmith, an avid swimmer himself. “We’re striving to increase the quality of our entire swimming program.”

Many staff members are being trained to teach swimming lessons, and one staff member has been hired strictly for teaching.

“[In addition to standard lesson components], all of our classes will incorporate open-water safety lesson plans into each,” Clingingsmith said, noting that the county has had several open-water tragedies this year.

A schedule of classes will be posted on the city’s website, www.cityofharvard.org, on the Parks & Recreation Department page. Clingingsmith said the additional lessons were added in part because of requests from the community.

In addition to increased swimming lessons, the city will unveil a 10-by-20-foot shade shelter this year. The shelter, which will have a fabric top, will provide shade for visitors who aren’t swimming. Other work currently being completed is a pump and motor replacement, slide resurfacing, repainted gutters and standard patching.

The aquatic center opened in June 2001. The 7,000-square-foot pool has a handicapped-accessible zero-depth pool with a capacity for 422 people. Features include two diving boards, a water slide, a picnic area and sand play area, as well as a sand volleyball pit. A 5,680-square-foot bath house and concession stand offers hot dogs, pizza and other snacks to visitors.

“As usual, coolers are not allowed in the pool area,” Clingingsmith said, noting that special attention will be placed on not allowing outside food items to be brought in.

Summer passes are available for residents and non-residents. Rates before May 23 are $90 per individual, $125 per family and $55 per senior citizen for residents; $125, $170 and $60 for non-residents, available at City Hall. Rates May 25 to June 30 are $115 per individual, $150 per family and $75 per senior citizen for residents; $165, $200 and $85 for non-residents, available at the pool. The pool opens at 1 p.m. each day, and is open to 6:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, 8 p.m. Thursdays, and 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Clingingsmith said the aquatic center also hosts birthday parties for a fee, and he hopes to see the number of parties increase this year. The Open Hours Pool Party includes admission to the pool, private lawn area and a meal consisting of a drink, a slice of pizza or a hot dog, and a bag of chips. The two-hour party for 10 people is $75, and additional people cost $7 each.