SEARCY, Ark – The Searcy Swim Center is feeling the heat months before the summer season, as staffing shortages continue.
“It is sad and it’s an odd quiet time,” Searcy Swim Center Aquatics Director Katelyn Denney said.
This week is Spring Break for students in Searcy but Monday afternoon, the pool sat empty.
“I’ve already turned away 5 to 6 families already today,” Denney said.
Taped on the front doors is a change of hours sign.
The Searcy Swim Center is closed from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily as Denney juggles just 11 on her staff.
“There’s job shortages everywhere so we’re just part of that group, I think,” Denney said.
Denney says most of her lifeguards are students at Harding University. Between classes and breaks, many afternoons, she’s left out to dry.
“That kicks people out from coming in and doing their everyday workouts, and I have people that come religiously every single day,” Denney said.
Frustration grows as many wait for doors to open.
“We’ve had a lot of people asking about, can my membership be suspended for the time being until this gets resolved?” Denney said.
Denney says she fears things will only get worse in the months to come with nearly half of her current staff gone for the summer.
She’s hoping soon, chairs will be filled so doors can open full-time.
Denney says the center has plans to host a lifeguard certification class in May with hopes to bring more lifeguards in for the summer.
Anyone interested in applying can CityOfSearcy.org or pick up an application in person from the Searcy Swim Center.