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Furman Aquatic Center Facing Staffing Challenges

Post Date:06/08/2017 8:50 PM
Ames Park and Recreation Department is reducing hours at Municipal Pool and temporarily adjusting availability to basins at the Furman Aquatic Center in response to staff shortages. Finding lifeguards and slide attendants to staff the facility can be difficult, but this year the shortage has been significant.


“This is a challenging situation because we don’t want to reduce access to a wonderful community asset,” said Keith Abraham, director with the Ames Parks and Recreation Department. “However, safety is always our primary concern, and we cannot operate a facility without enough staff.”

Open swim at Municipal Pool will close on Friday, June 9. Lap swimming will continue at Municipal Pool from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 9 through Sunday, June 11. Beginning Monday, June 12, lap swimming only will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. Lifeguards previously assigned to Municipal Pool will transfer to the Furman Aquatic Center.

From Friday, June 9 to Sunday, June 11, the Ames Cyclone Aquatics Club will be holding its annual “Rock the Blocks” swim meet at the Furman Aquatic Center. During this event, the 50-meter pool will not be available for public use. The zero-depth splash pool and lazy river will remain open.

The pool staffing shortage is not just a problem in Ames. Staffing shortages have reduced facility operations in Des Moines-area pools. For example, West Des Moines has been forced to open only one of its two outdoor facilities at a time due to staffing shortages, Abraham said.

The City of Ames hopes to have the Furman Aquatic Center fully staffed by the end of the month. The schedule for the facility through June 30 will be as follows:




Splash Pool



Lazy River



50-meter Pool






11 a.m. to 1 p.m.



Tot Time



Water Walking



Lap Swimming



Only open if staff is available



1 to 6 p.m.



Open Swim



Open Swim



Open Swim



Only open if staff is available



6 to 8 p.m.



Only open if staff is available



Only open if staff is available



Open Swim



Only open if staff is available



To attract more lifeguards, the City of Ames has established an aggressive strategy to mitigate the shortage as soon as possible. Included in the planning are increasing wages for current and new employees, covering the cost of training, creating new positions that require less training such as slide attendant and shallow water guard, and targeting non-traditional employees such as teachers and retirees.


“We are seeking creative and innovative solutions to what is likely a long-term staffing challenge to large aquatic facilities like the Furman Aquatic Center,” Abraham said. “We are very interested in hiring more employees who can help us serve our customers.”

For more information about applying for a position at the Furman Aquatic Center, go to

The key staffing shortage is for lifeguards, and more lifeguard training is being planned. Lifeguard training takes 40 hours to complete. Slide attendants require a four-hour First Aid/CPR/AED certification. First aid classes are being scheduled and will be provided by the City of Ames. Applicants must be a minimum of 15 years old.

Updates on the Furman Aquatic Center are available on the Parks and Recreation hotline at 515.239.5434 and are posted at The Parks and Recreation Department manages 37 parks and offers approximately 150 athletic, aquatic, instructional, and wellness programs. Indoor programs are provided year round at the Community Center, Ames/ISU Ice Arena, and Municipal Pool.

Furman Aquatic Center

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