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Unexpected Pool Closure Brings Parks and Rec Changes

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A staffing issue that led to the unexpected closure of the Genoveva Chavez Community Center natatorium in Santa Fe, N.M., on Saturday is expected to result in changes for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department employees.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the natatorium was forced to close after a certified pool operator was unable to report to the location. The New Mexico Environment Department requires a certified pool operator to be present at public pools, but the pool supervisor who typically works weekends at the natatorium was hospitalized Saturday with an illness.

The city’s other pool operators were unavailable to come in — because they were either out of town or busy moving — so the pool was forced to close.

City Parks and Recreation director Rob Carter told staff that he’d like to see more employees become certified pool operators, to avoid similar issues in the future.

“I’ve already sent an email out this morning telling them that I would like to see at least four support staff to have their [certified pool operator certification],” Carter told the New Mexican.

“If I had that backup, at least the CPO could be there, even if they’re not a lifeguard. They could be in charge of the pool, and we could keep it open,” he continued.

The sudden closure reportedly disappointed patrons, including two groups of children who were planning on attending birthday parties at the natatorium. Carter said that those two parties were relocated to the community center’s gym and ice arena, and that the events went well.

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