The Canal Winchester Municipal Pool at 180 Groveport Road opens June 4, operating for the first time under private management.

The Canal Winchester Municipal Pool at 180 Groveport Road opens June 4, operating for the first time under private management.

"This is the first year the contract has been awarded to Columbus Pool Management," community affairs administrator Carrie Hoover said.

City council had awarded a contract to paint the pool this month, but the wet weather has made painting impractical before opening day.

"It became apparent, as we continued to have rain on a pretty much daily basis, it would not happen," said Bill Sims, Canal Winchester's construction services manager. "You need to have at least five dry days and we just have not had that."

Public works director Matt Peoples said the painting would be done at the end of the season, after the pool closes. In addition to the wet weather, high groundwater levels preclude painting the pool now because water runs backward into the pool when it is empty, he said.

"Canal Winchester has very high groundwater levels, especially when it is raining, and that needs to come way down before we can get in there," Peoples said. "The bottom of the pool leaks up, which it is supposed to do, so (the concrete) doesn't float up. Groundwater leaks in when the pool is empty, which prohibits painting. The pressure of groundwater would push the concrete up."

Hoover said having a private contractor operate the pool shouldn't be noticeable to the public.

"Everything to the public will run virtually the same," she said. "They should not notice much of a difference. Our staff was employed by the village but is now employed by Columbus Pool Management. They'll do things like ordering the chemicals and maintaining the pool. As far as hours and memberships and actual staff working there, it will look the same to the public."

The pool will be open daily from noon to 8 p.m., but the facility will stay open for an additional two weeks, Hoover said. The pool closed Aug. 22 in 2010, but the last day this year will be Sept. 4.

Prices for admission and memberships will remain the same. The price for a two-hour private party will increase from $150 to $200.

"It would cost us more than what we were charging before to pay for the operation of the pool during that time, so it's to cover our costs," Hoover said of the fee increase.

She said the pool does not generate profits for the city, but it also does not require a subsidy.

"It usually comes close to breaking even," Hoover said. "It depends on the year, honestly, the weather. If it's a great weather season, it brings in more. If the weather is not good, it brings in less. It's not a money-maker for the city. Usually, right around what we bring in goes right back out."

Hoover said Columbus Pool approached the city about managing the facility.

"We do not have a parks and recreation department the way other municipalities do," Hoover said. "They were able to offer us a good deal as far as getting the pool open at the beginning of the summer and closed at the end of the year.

"Our water and maintenance departments are involved a lot in getting the pool ready, so it's a big savings to us as far as staff time, and our finance department hiring all the part-time seasonal staff - that's all a big savings in staff time," she said.

Peoples said outsourcing the opening and closing of the pool, along with regular maintenance, will save significant employee time.

"We did everything," Peoples said. "We got it ready to open, as far as mechanical and water and everything before the lifeguards came in to make sure it was ready for day-to-day operations. We did everything to get it ready to open."

Hoover said lessons and pool memberships may be purchased from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 1 and June 3 at the pool. Membership applications may be printed out from the city's website and completed ahead of time, or may be completed at the pool.