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The Woodlands Township believes that no locals should be more than 1 mile away from a pool. This philosophy has prompted the community to build 12 pools (10 traditional outdoor pools and two zero-depth entry pools) and the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center.

Adding to the township’s offerings are the Riva Row Boat House, with concessions and kayak rentals, and The Fountains at Waterway Square.

Result: Pool attendance topped more than 189,000 visitors in 2009.

Facilities offer diverse features, including splash zones, play structures and baby pools,  diving boards, and lap lanes for fitness.

Programming is just as diverse, with swim teams, swim lessons, kayak lessons, triathlon training swims, lifeguard training and more. 

Special aquatic programming includes resistance walking in the lazy river at the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center, and kayak activities at the Riva Row Boat House.

In 2008, a winter aquatics schedule using downtime at a local school district pool gave the Aquatics Division year-round programming.    

To ensure service and safety, lifeguards are audited regularly. These reviews include observations of regularly assigned duties; the facility’s operation and equipment; random skill evaluations of deep-water rescue; head, neck and back injury rescue skills; and CPR. The division’s goal is to audit each lifeguard three times per season.

Opening the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center in 2008 presented a number of challenges and prompted a number of changes. An initial concern was that the new center would take away attendance from the other 12 facilities, so the staff created the “13 Pools in 90 Days” program. It challenged community members to visit all pools. They received a “passport” that was punched with each visit; those who visited all 13 pools received prizes. More than 450 people participated, resulting in nearly 6,000 visits. 

Adding the new facility also brought a culture change to the lifeguarding staff. Before the center’s opening, pools might have 200 visitors at a time; at the center, it isn’t unusual to have 900 visitors at a time, and up to 2,000 on a busy day.

Standard Emergency Action Plans, lifeguard rotations and cleaning schedules all had to be revised. And a full-time lifeguard coordinator was added to hire, train, evaluate and manage the staff. At all pools, The Woodlands’ ultimate priority is safety. The Aquatics Division staffers are trained annually, and pool employees are required to attend weekly in-service trainings. A 10-minute safety break each hour allows lifeguards to practice CPR, first aid and water rescues in a more realistic environment.


JUDGES’COMMENTS

“This facility truly understands total aquatics programming and community offerings.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 10 outdoor pools with a variety of features
  • 2 zero-depth entry pools with interactive play structures
  • Rob Fleming Aquatic Center, with lazy river, flume water slide, interactive aquatic play structure, lap pool, concession stand and large sun turf area
  • Ri va Row Boat House, with a public boardwalk and kayak rentals  
  • Waterway Square signature fountains