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Rec center open for limited use

Juno Ogle Photo Roswell Recreation Manager Marcus Gallegos is reflected in the mirror in the exercise room Tuesday at the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center, 1402 W. College Blvd. A new rubber floor and exercise equipment have been installed. The center will begin offering classes with Les Mills Virtual in July.

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Going into its second year of operation, the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center isn’t as busy as was anticipated thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its directors are pleased with the turnout since its partial reopening and anticipate interest in the revamped exercise room.

On June 3, the indoor pool opened for lap swimming and the gym opened on June 8, both with restrictions to comply with health orders.

“On opening day, we had a line out the door,” Recreation Manager Marcus Gallegos said. “There was this joy on their faces. They were so happy to be back.”

The swim times are limited to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the eight-lane pool, with one person per lane or two if the swimmers are from the same household.

Swim lesson registration was also opened June 3 and both sessions sold out within hours, Gallegos said. The six 30-minute classes of each session were limited to two people for each of four time slots. Private swim lessons are also offered.

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The indoor pool has been used because of windy conditions, but Gallegos said plans are to use the outdoor pool for lessons.

Gallegos said lap swimmers have asked for an earlier start time, but because the center has fewer lifeguards on staff, he set the hours to best accommodate both the lap swim and lessons.

However, two area swim teams using the lap pool will allow him to adjust the schedule. Starting June 29, lap swimming will open at 7 a.m. The lap pool will be reserved for the swim teams from 9 to 11 a.m.

“The good thing about the swim team is that everybody’s really competent and having three swim coaches here are just more eyes on that, so I can actually spread my lifeguards out a little bit more in order to cover that extra hour,” he said.

When — or even if — the outdoor pool will be able to open to the public is not known, Gallegos and Aquatics Manager Todd Fizer said.

They have been told by a state environmental official to not make plans for recreational swimming until at least August.

The pool is filled, however, and its features are running to help keep the pool clean, Gallegos said.

The pool is actually harder to clean when not in use, Fizer said. With people in the pool, the water gets churned up and dirt stays on top where it easily gets into the filtration system.

“Without people in it right now, it just kind of hangs out at the bottom,” he said.

“That’s why we run the features and the slide still so we can try to stir that water up and get that dirt moving so it actually gets over the rim and into our filtration system. If not, they’re having to sweep and vacuum every single day,” Gallegos said.

Gym use has gone well, too, Gallegos said. No full-court play is allowed, and the goals are limited to two people each or up to five from the same household with a parent present. Players have to bring their own basketballs.

Gallegos said the staff disinfects the bleachers, door handles and other high-touch areas every hour and the basketball backboards and rims are cleaned every day.

During the center’s closure, Gallegos and Fizer spent their time cleaning and organizing, they said, so the building would be prepared for when it could open.

“We were able to react very quickly to the opening. There’s some centers that are still not open because they weren’t quite prepared to,” Gallegos said.

Fizer, who started on the job about two weeks before the city closed its facilities in March due to the pandemic, also used the time to develop policies and procedures.

They also made some improvements, such as benches and mirrors in the bathrooms, carpeting around the lap pool for increased safety and new signage for pool rules.

The multi-purpose exercise room also got a new look and new equipment, using funds left over from the center’s construction. Finishing work is still going on, but Gallegos is hoping to open it July 1 with a launch of a new exercise program.

The center will be offering the Les Mills virtual program. Schedules and more information will be posted soon, Gallegos said.

“We invested in this system and it comes with all the equipment that you see them using. That should be delivered within a day or so,” he said. The programs will be shown on two large screens.

Classes will be offered for different levels for programs such as body pump, body combat and body flow.

“During our launch week, I’m going to be running a bunch of beginner classes because they never experienced it,” he said. “I worked out to it this morning and I can barely stand up right now. These are that tough,” he said.

The room also sports a new rubber floor and 10 pieces of new exercise equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machine and weight training stations. Not all of the new equipment will be kept in the room to meet social distancing guidelines, however.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.


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