A staffing shortage has forced Bend Park and Recreation to reduce hours at the Larkspur Community center and delay opening the renovated indoor pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness.
This change begins today, Thursday, Sept. 9, and will continue until additional staff are hired, trained and certified.
“We are experiencing unprecedented staffing challenges and need additional lifeguards as a top priority. We’ve worked for months to raise pay rates, add benefitted full-time positions and now we’re introducing $100 weekly bonuses,” said Sue Glenn, recreation services manager. “Lifeguards are crucial to keeping facilities open and ensuring safety for swim activities. These adjustments are an interim investment to hire staff to assist us in continuing important services to the community.”
Swim workout on your own and family swim sessions at Larkspur Community Center will be on hiatus during the affected hours and days.
During other swim times, there may be limited capacity and reduced features available. If capacity needs to be limited, admittance will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. See descriptions and schedules for details.
Morning water fitness classes, dry land group exercise classes and the fitness center at Larkspur Community Center will not be impacted by the operational changes at this time.
Currently, operating hours and activities are unchanged at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, subject to change.
One possible exception to this situation is if poor air quality conditions persist and the 50-meter outdoor pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center is closed due to smoke.
In the past two weeks of smoky conditions, staff have relocated swim activities from the outdoor pool to the Larkspur indoor pool to avoid cancellations.
Lifeguard jobs: new weekly $100 bonuses for weekday shifts
Benefitted full-time lifeguard positions, as well as part-time positions, are open now with new $100 per week bonuses for employees who work at least 25 hours on weekdays from early morning to late afternoon.
“Lifeguards are vital first responder roles for our community and the new compensation and bonuses reflect this importance as our way of inviting potential applicants who may not have considered the job in the past,” added Glenn.
Lifeguard training includes classroom instruction and in-water training leading to StarGuard Lifeguard Licensure.
Juniper Swim & Fitness Center is a StarGuard certified training agency and has trained and employed generations of Central Oregonians.
Renovated indoor pools
The district completed the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center indoor pool renovation project and expects to open the indoor pools as soon as the staffing challenges are resolved.
For now, the hot tub, sauna and steam room will also remain closed due to both COVID concerns and the delay of the indoor pool re-opening. The situation will be evaluated weekly.
Work included renovating the 25-meter and children’s pool tanks and gutters, replacing the pool deck, upgrading the pool mechanical system and piping, and replacing the building electrical switchgear.
There are also new and refurbished play features.
“On behalf of our staff, I appreciate our patrons’ patience and understanding as we work to hire and train additional staff,” added Glenn. “This is an unfortunate situation that is affecting many organizations nationally, and we have taken this extraordinary step to maintain our high standard while we work hard to fully staff our lifeguard team.”
When Juniper is fully reopened and Larkspur returns to its full operating hours, the community will be served by a decade-long-plan to offer complementary fitness and swim opportunities as one comprehensive program in two facilities.