Updates for the Natatorium and Multi-Use Complex in Alice: Here's what to know.
The Multi-Use Natatorium Complex now managed by the YMCA of the Coastal Bend is currently working towards a goal to open in a broader capacity sometime during the summer of 2021. Currently, the facility is offering swim sessions to Alice High School and Middle School students, swim lessons for the Rotary Club of Alice, and a city swims team league for the summer months that has reached attendance capacity.
"There are many variables to opening and running a large pool facility like the one in Alice -it is very costly. You cannot just turn a switch and have everything work perfectly; some of those pumps have not been used in quite some time," CEO of YMCA Bud Oliver said. "The YMCA follows guidelines in regards to licensing and permitting requirements that have taken some time in recent months to move forward with managing a facility that size to full capacity."
One hurdle the YMCA has faced while taking over the pool is finding employees to hire locally to support the facility. On March 11, the YMCA along with the City of Alice posted an Aquatics Director position for the natatorium. To date, the only applicants that have applied have been out of state, Oliver stated.
"I would like to hire locally and have the Aquatics Director live in close vicinity because it makes more sense for the role of the position," he added. "The long-term goals will include lifeguards with more specialized certification due to the dynamics of the facility. There are many variables in play for the complex to open in full capacity to the community."
The city currently maintains the responsibility for the shortfall funds for maintenance with an agreement for the first year to support the YMCA with a liability of $76,000. To date, the city has spent close to $30,000 on propane alone to keep the pools warm and $10,000 on repairs.
"This has been a unique year due to the pandemic and this endeavor will take some time under the circumstances," City Manager Michael Esparza said. "The natatorium is the YMCA's expertise and business, they know what is best, and it is important to note their current support for the local school district swim teams this year and upcoming plans for the community this summer. "
"The plan is to open in stages for the purpose to be financially responsible for what we can currently manage," Oliver said.