Odessa pools remain busy while others are being worked on

With temperatures in or near triple-digit territory through the months of June and early July, it’s no surprise that public pools in Odessa have been busy.

Normally the city would have up to six options for people to cool down, including pools at Sherwood Park, Floyd Gwin Park, Woodson Park, UTPB, Odessa College and the YMCA.

That list is narrow in 2022, as three of those pools (UTPB, Odessa College and the YMCA) have been down for repairs.

The pools that are in commission have received plenty of visitors since the month of May.

Sherwood, Floyd Gwin and Woodson have been some of the busiest areas in the city, along with the Jurassic Jungle Sprayground, according to Odessa YMCA CEO Crissy Medina.

The YMCA has been operating the city pools through the summer, working to sustain enjoyable experiences for all attendees.

“There’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into that,” Medina said. “Along with recruiting an additional 60 to 80 staff members to prepare for the pools, we’re making sure that we have all the proper equipment and that the staff has proper training.”

Up to this point in the summer, Sherwood has been the busiest park for the operating staff.

Medina added that the aquatic centers offer something for everyone, with things like slides, diving boards and sand volleyball courts gaining attention.

The pools that aren’t in commission have seen progress through the summer, but some of them won’t be ready to go until after the summer break ends.

UTPB’s pool was scheduled to reopen in time for users to enjoy this summer season, getting back up and running Wednesday after seeing repairs on one of its filter pumps.

Odessa College and the YMCA’s pools didn’t have the same luck, as repairs in those facilities are still ongoing.

Odessa College aquatics coordinator Maggie Melton said the pool in the OC Sports Center has been down since October 2021 with various issues.

Things that have been fixed include one of the pumps, making structural repairs to the support beams on the deck and updating the pool’s ground to put it in its best condition.

One of the most recent aspects to fix has been a leak in the water tank, leaving a reopening date up in the air.

Melton said the impact of not having the pool open for the summer can be seen in the Sports Center.

“There’s our summer camps that usually use the pool, we haven’t been able to offer swim lessons for the community like normal,” Melton said. “Our general members, students and faculty who come to lap swim, do the aerobics classes, family swim.

“There’s plenty of people who are hoping and waiting for this to get back up and running that we would love to have for them.”

The YMCA’s pool is going through a roof remodel and the project will last until mid August.

In the meantime, people can still enjoy the activities the YMCA will offer at the city pools until July 31.

Medina said the YMCA has the resources to provide certified lifeguards who make sure the proper procedures are followed to make each park safe and fun.

The CEO said her organization ran the parks a few seasons ago and she feels grateful that they get the opportunity to work with the people again.

“Now that we’re able to do this again, I feel like we have a little bit more experience [and] we’ve learned so much post-pandemic,” Medina said. “I think everybody learned so much.

“I’m happy to see that the public is coming back out again and enjoying some of these programs that went quiet while we were going through the pandemic, so I’m very excited that we’re able to do something like that.”

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