Two pools will open late after rebuilds; city monitoring several others for problems

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Shipe and Govalle neighborhood pools won’t open until mid-summer after bad weather and permitting processes delayed construction on the new facilities.

Both were closed completely the last two summers due to significant leaks. The city spent $3 million to rebuild the two pools, and the Parks and Recreation Department expects them to open in mid-July.

The department is keeping a close eye on three other pools — Gillis, Montopolis and Civitan — as workers fill them with water and get them ready to open over the coming days.

“All seem to be doing pretty well,” PARD’s aquatics division manager Jodi Jay said, but the city is monitoring them for any leaks.

All three were placed on the division’s “critical watch list” back in 2014, meaning they were at risk of significant leaks that might lead to their closures. The four other pools on the list — Govalle, Shipe, Northwest and Givens — have since received significant upgrades or complete rebuilds.

Mabel Davis pool also closed in 2017 due to leaks but reopened last summer after extensive repair work.

The new facilities at Govalle and Shipe mirror those at Bartholomew, Westenfield and West Austin, Jay said, in that newer pump technology and other upgrades will save water and energy. The city keeps those pools filled year-round to cut down on repairs needed at the start of summer, and it plans to do the same at the two new facilities.

“If you had a car and you took your car, and you drained it of all of its fluids, and you pulled back the convertible top, and you parked it in your driveway all winter, and then you wanted to fill it up right before the summer and drive it out to California and back, there’s going to be some things that pop up with that car,” Jay said.

Keeping the pools full and operating year-round, she explained, is better for them in the long run.

Four more pools — Dittmar, Ramsey, Reed and Balcones — are expected to open on time despite construction work that is still going on at those facilities.

A large portion of the city’s pools are slated to open by Monday, June 3, with other wave opening a week later. See a full list of the city’s pools and their opening dates here.

Meanwhile, the aquatics department is looking to hire about 300 more lifeguards throughout the summer. The city has enough to open pools as scheduled, Jay said, but they need to continue to hire over the coming weeks to maintain operations all summer. 

In all the city needs about 750 lifeguards and other staff. A record hiring event last week brought in more than 100 new workers.

Lifeguard pay got a bump again this year, to $15 an hour, and employees also receive paid sick leave for the first time. Apply to become a lifeguard here.

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