ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
As Jodi Stutzman strolled across the stage on Saturday to accept her diploma from Tabor College, she was firmly focused on the present.
But for those who know the new Hillsboro aquatics facility manager, the Wichita native is at least squinting toward the future.
With the overwhelming passage of a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for a new family aquatics center, the future of summer fun will change dramatically in the city beginning in 2006.
Stutzman plans to be a big part of that future.
“The pool manager’s job this summer really is a job that’s leading up to running the new aquatics facility next summer,” Stutzman said. “Any manager who would have gotten this job would have done so with the new pool in their future plans.”
Stutzman and husband, Joe, the custodial supervisor at Tabor, said they like the city of Hillsboro.
“We already live here and we really haven’t had any real push to move or go somewhere else,” she said. “I have experience with pool aquatics and it seemed like a really good opportunity for me as a career. I feel we can be an asset to this community.”
Stutzman graduated from Tabor with a degree in Spanish and communications after receiving her high school diploma four years earlier from Maize High School.
While in Wichita, Stutzman worked for four summers at Reflection Ridge as a certified lifeguard.
Although she has no previous managerial experience, Stutzman said she has prepared herself for the challenge of managing the Hillsboro pool.
“I’ve worked with younger kids a lot and I’ve taught lessons and coordinated a day camp in Wichita,” she said. “I think those two things have prepared me for dealing with children or being around them and being able to interact.”
Her early agenda will include implementing emergency action plans.
“They technically need to be very specific for every possible emergency that may happen,” Stutzman said. “That’s not something that’s been very detailed in the past, but I intend to make that a priority.
“Some of the things I’m talking about is if an older patron would have a heart attack or signs of a heart attack, what would we do,” she added. “All the lifeguards and myself need to know exactly where to go and how to take care of the person and whom to call. That whole process hasn’t ever been very smooth here.”
Stutzman’s staff will consist of seven full-time lifeguards as well as two part-time guards, including assistant managers Amanda Wyatt and Alisa Jost.
Stutzman herself is certified as a life guard and in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. She recently was certified as an American Red Cross pool manager.
“I have a lot of guards who have their WSIs (Water Safety Instructor) and that includes the Red Cross certification to teach certified Red Cross swim lessons,” she said. “I’m pleased with my staff.”
Stutzman said not many cosmetic changes occurred in the off-season at the pool.
“There are just some touchups because we’re looking forward to the new facility next year,” she said. “This pool is very much on its last leg, but I have high hopes it’ll still run smoothly and working well this summer, and we’ll still be able to have a great summer.”
Many of the standard services offered by the pool remain, according to Stutzman.
“We’ll still offer swimming lessons from infant to as old as you want to learn,” she said. “We have six levels of lessons and by Level 6 you should be learning and practicing strokes.”
One noticeable change this summer will be the availability of swimming lessons to patrons during afternoon hours.
“We’ll be open from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on weekdays,” Stutzman said. “We had a lot of parents that couldn’t take their kids to swim lessons until after work. We hope this change will offer that possibility to those people.
“Every swimming lesson will have a certified Red Cross instructor to teach them,” she added.
Weekend hours are 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Other standard practices will remain in effect.
“I understand we’ll have water aerobics some evenings after hours, and the Prairie View kids will still come in on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons,” she added. “Our swim team will be practicing in the mornings and we’ll host two swim meets in June, so that’ll be a big deal for us.”
The pool will continue to be available for parties as well.
“Any group that wants to come here for a party, we’ll be happy to rent the pool out to them,” Stutzman said.
Another deviation for regular patrons will be the elimination of the required 10-minute break each hour.
“The pool will be open solid throughout the day and we think that will make the guard shifts more effective and efficient,” she said.
Rates for the summer remain constant: family passes cost $85 and a single season pass is $50.
Discount packages of 15 passes will run $25 while single-day rates are $2 per person.
Concessions are available.
Stutzman said this year will allow the staff to experiment with ways to transition to the new facility.
“We’re trying to put some different processes in place this year in order to make the transition to the next facility smoother,” she said. “Definitely, when we get the new facility, we’ll have to run it more like a business.
“If we have more water features and zero-depth entry, there are a lot of legal issues that go along with that and need to be taken into consideration.”
Stutzman said her role with the city and the aquatics center won’t end when the pool closes at the end of this summer.
“I’ll still be employed and become involved with the new facility,” she said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. I’ll help with the design, help build it and make sure it’s up to code. I’ll be playing a fairly major role in that process.”
Stutzman knows this summer will go a long way in preparing her and the staff for the jump into the new facility next summer.
“I’ve never been a manager in this capacity before and I know it’s a huge learning experience for me,” she said. “My goal is to not only supervise and manage people, but to manage a facility that runs smoothly.
“Even with this year of experience, I know I’ll still need to communicate with other area water park managers,” she said. “Mainly though, I’ll learn things just by simply being involved.”
The pool is set to open for the summer season at 1 p.m., Monday.
Stutzman can be reached at the pool at 620-947-3750.
“I hope everyone who comes here this summer will have fun and enjoy their summer, and that includes being safe,” she said. “That’s my job-to make sure everyone stays safe.”
Marion swimming pool
Deanna Thierolf embarks on her seventh year as manager of the Marion swimming pool.
“There won’t be any changes around here this summer,” Thierolf said. “We haven’t made any cosmetic changes other than paint, which they do every year. But it looks really nice. They did a good job.
“They thought the pool wasn’t going to open on time because of the cooler weather, but it’s filled now and we’ll be right on schedule.”
That means a 1 p.m. opening on Memorial Day. Regular hours for the pool will run from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“The swim team uses the pool from 8 a.m. until noon and we have water aerobics at night from 8 until 9,” Thierolf said. “One thing about this pool is that it’s well used.”
Available this summer will be water aerobics, swimming lessons, private lessons and swim team.
Thierolf said her staff will consist of 12 to 15 workers.
“I’m a water safety instructor and a lifeguard instructor so I can train my own lifeguards, which is nice,” she said. “We’ll offer a mommy-baby class-or should I say a mommy-daddy-baby class.
“We’ll also have preschool classes, and we offer our Level 1 through Level 7 American Red Cross lessons for kids 5 and older,” she added. “We’ll do two sessions of preschool because they’ve been really popular.
“Living between two lakes, people love to swim around here and do water activities.”
Family passes remain $70 and single season passes are $35.
Adult day passes are $2 while passes for children 12 and under are $1.50.
The pool will continue to offer concessions. It can be reached at 620-382-2150.
“We have great lifeguards at our pool, it’s very clean and a very family friendly place to hang out during the summer,” Thierolf said. “I hope people will come out and join us.”
Peabody swimming pool
Co-managers Rachel Kostner and Sarahanne Kerchner hope expanded hours this summer will increase attendance at the Peabody swimming pool.
“We’ve extended our hours from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday compared to 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. last year,” Kostner said. “We’ll now be open from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. seven days a week this summer.”
While both Kostner and Kerchner are first-year managers for the pool, each brings considerable experience and training to handle the position.
“We both have six years of experience as lifeguards,” Kostner said. “We’re also both water safety instructor certified, lifeguard certified and first aid and CPR certified.”
The duo will be joined by a staff of 10 other lifeguards.
New at the Peabody pool is the addition of two new lifeguard stations as well as a new diving board.
Other improvements include the renovation of the baby pool.
Kostner said the goal of the staff is to provide a safe outlet for summer fun both for young and not-so-young, alike.
“We’re hoping to make the pool a more fun environment for the whole family, not just children,” Kostner said. “We really want to try to increase our overall usage.
“Sarahanne and I are looking for a place to grow and to work with the area children,” she added. “We want to provide a place they can feel safe, learn and have fun-we want to provide an option for them other than just sitting in front of their television all summer.”
Swimming lessons will be provided as well with sessions running from June 6-16, June 20-30 and July 11-21.
Infant and preschool lessons will be available July 25-28.
Rates at Peabody include passes for a family of four at $80 (each additional member adds $10), adult individual passes for ages 17-and-over are $55 and youth passes for ages 16-and-under are $40. Day passes for adults are $2 while kids will pay $1.50.
Children age 5 and under are free.
“We’re going to try to make it more fun by holding contests, adding family swim days and just making changes that will make people want to come out and join us,” Kostner said.
“This is Sarahanne and my first year managing the pool and we really want to make it fun while making sure it’s safe for everyone.
“We hope our attendance will increase and lots of people will participate in our swim lessons and come out and join us.”
The pool opens for business at 1 p.m. Monday. The pool may be reached at 620-983-2801.