City’s Aquatic Fun Centers to reduce pool operation hours


Regina Lueallen, right, who said she has 15 grandchildren, plays with some of her grandchildren and nieces and nephews in the pool at the Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center in Ocala on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted July 7, 2022 | By Ocala Gazette Staff

The City of Ocala’s Aquatic Fun Centers will implement a reduction in hours of operation, according to a July 1 press release, beginning Tuesday, July 12. 

Reduced hours of operation are being initiated to maintain state safety guidelines amid a critical lifeguard shortage, which, according to the American Lifeguard Association, is affecting about a third of the country’s public pools. 

“Unfortunately, this has been a trend over the last several years, even before COVID-19,” said Preston Pooser, director of Ocala Recreation and Parks. “We have experienced increased challenges in recruitment and retention of summer lifeguards. We begin the annual recruitment process as early as February and offer highly competitive pay. However, only 60% of our positions were filled this summer.”

Pooser encouraged the following of “stringent” state safety guidelines that includes a 25 to 1 swimmer to lifeguard ratio. 

“Due to attrition and limited availability of lifeguards to work through the remainder of the summer sessions, we are currently unable to safely staff both pools simultaneously,” he said. “The safety of our guests is first and foremost, so we must adjust our pool hours and days of operation to ensure we have enough lifeguards to safely operate each facility.”

Should staffing availability change, Pooser added, pool hours will be adjusted.

The Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center, 2390 S.W. 36th Ave., and the Hampton Aquatic Fun Center, 255 N.W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., will alternate operating days and continue to host two sessions per day, according to the city. 

Effective July 12, pool hours of operations will be as follows:

• Hampton Aquatic Fun Center

Wednesday, July 13—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Friday, July 15—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 21—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, July 23—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, July 27—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Friday, July 29—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, July 30—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. *

• Jervey Gantt Aquatic Fun Center

Tuesday, July 12—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 14—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, July 16—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Friday, July 22—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, July 26—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 28—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, July 30—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. *

*If staffing levels meet safety guidelines 

Admission per session for a single individual is $2 for children ages 17 and under and $3.50 for adults ages 18 and up. 

For more information, visit www.ocalafl.org/aquatics or call the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at (352) 368-5517.