The long, hot summer will be assured of being a little cooler -- at least for Greencastle Aquatic Center patrons.
Despite Greencastle Schools starting classes next week, the prospect of the historic heat wave continuing helped motivate the city's Parks and Recreation Department to extend the summer swim season one week.
The Park Board Thursday night voted unanimously to extend the season through Sunday, Aug. 19.
The pool had originally been scheduled to close at the end of the day on Sunday, Aug. 12 in anticipation of all four county schools returning to session.
Ironically, during some of the hottest days of the summer, when temperatures topped 100 degrees, swimmers and sunbathers stayed away, Park Superintendent Rod Weinschenk said.
"We thought we'd be busy, but we weren't," he said, "until it cooled down at night."
The lone exception was July 4 when admission was free and despite it being 102 degrees outside, the facility reached its capacity of 642 people in the pool area at one time. Attendance topped 750 for the day.
Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 8, the aquatic center will move to an "in-school schedule." On weekdays, the city pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lap swimming and 4-8 p.m. for open swim.
Weekend dates will allow lap swim from 11 a.m. until noon, and open swimming from noon until 8 p.m. There will be no time designated for family swim during the truncated daily schedule, Weinschenk said.
Traditionally, lifeguard and pool staff scheduling after school resumes has made staying open longer in August difficult. However, Weinschenk stressed that he has "at least six lifeguards available each night."
He also has a manager, Sara Culler, available for the extended timeframe as well.
That wasn't the only pool news on the night.
Weinschenk also reported that the popular "Soggy Doggy Day" event, in which dog owners were allowed to bring their pet to the pool following the last official day of the season for humans, has been scrapped.
"The state changed the rules," Weinschenk said.
He noted that the Health Department would require the pool to be "superchlorinated" after dogs were allowed in the water in order to assure that bacteria wouldn't be allowed to linger and grow in the filter system all off-season.
That would run approximately $300 in chemical costs, Weinschenk said, making "Soggy Doggy Dog" cost-prohibitive at its typical $5-per-dog fee.
The Park Board was asked to approve elimination of the event from the 2012 schedule, which it did unanimously but reluctantly.
Weinschenk also offered a follow-up on the broken high-dive platform.
While it may seem an easy fix to remove the board and replace the base plate that has broken free from its moorings, it is more of a liability issue than anything else, Weinschenk explained.
The liability insurance for equipment like a three-meter board is carried by the manufacturer, he said, so it is not as simple as finding a machine shop to replicate the piece and reinstall it.
There is also an issue of the board no longer meeting current regulations. The pool diving well needs to be a required 12 feet, 6 inches, Weinschenk explained, while the local facility is only 12 feet, 4 inches deep and cannot be altered.
The park superintendent did say he will continue to look into the possible use of a one-meter board, deck-level board or drop slide. He is also awaiting an assessment of the situation by Spear Corp., the Roachdale-based pool experts.
"We have another pool problem," Weinschenk advised the board, noting that the facility was built in 1993 and is definitely showing its age.
Inside the pump room, wiring was encased in metal, which is corroding badly due to humidity and other factors.
Weinschenk estimated a $25,000 project will be necessary to redesign and upgrade the pump room.
"We need to put it (the wiring) in PVC," he said, "and why they didn't do that in 1993, I don't know. We have to do it now.
"So we're looking at electrical expense for next year, too," Weinschenk added. "So if we have to look at either replacing the three-meter board or replacing the electrical so I can open the pool on time next year, you're probably looking at doing the electrical."
For safety reasons, the diving board was taken down Thursday, Weinschenk said, and the base also will be removed.
Voting unanimously on the pool measures discussed Thursday night were board president John Hennette and members Beva Miller and Tim Trigg.
The next regular session of the Park Board is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 at City Hall.