The citizens of Altus and surrounding communities can begin enjoying the cool water of the Linda Wiginton Aquatic Center at 121 N. Park Lane in Altus as early as 1 p.m. Monday.
But there are a few changes to consider and, most importantly, there are new operating hours.
Gone are the noon to 8 p.m. times with a break in the middle, replaced by a 1-7 p.m. continuous swim.
That means for swimmers will no longer have to pay the entrance fee for each session and instead will cost $4 per adult and $3 for children under 48 inches.
The change was made for many different reasons.
“We actually used to do it that way a long time ago and we changed it whenever we put in the slides,” Linda Wiginton said. “But there were a variety of reasons why we chose to do it that way. We thought when we did five to eight for the second session, it would be a family time where people could come with their children after getting off work and it didn’t turn out that way. Also, financially, it saves us an hour a day.”
The pool also is no longer using salt in the water and instead will go back to chlorine because the salt not have the desired effect. Outside food and drinks no longer will be permitted through the door.
The “kiddie pool” also will be unavailable due to construction, but Wiginton hopes to have that area of the complex available next year. For the second summer in a row, the indoor pool will only be used for swim classes and lap swimming from 4-7 p.m. and although the pool opens Monday, the waters slides will not be running until Wednesday at the earliest.
For classes offered through the City of Altus Recreation Department, Water Babies will return for all children between the ages of nine months and five years old. Classes are slated from 5-5:30 p.m. or 5:30-6 p.m. May 30 through June 22 at a cost of $45. An adult must be present and in the water with the child.
“It’s their introduction to the aquatic environment but we do things like sing songs, go under water and work on swimming. Some of them take off like little fish and some, not so much,” Wiginton said. “But after the Water Babies class, you really have to watch them because they’ll have no fear. But I do teach them a thing where if they jump in, they flip over on their backs.”
The first swim lessons are May 30 through June 8, the second session runs June 12-22, and the final session runs June 26 through July 6. Enrollment is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 24-25 and costs $45 per session.
Four- and five-year-old lessons are slated from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Swimmers six years and older are set to swim between 9:30-10:30 a.m. or 10:30-11:30 a.m. for level one and two swimmers; 8:30-9:30 a.m. for level three and four swimmers; and 8:30-9:30 a.m. for level five and six swimmers.
For the more competitive children and adults, the Aquatic Center offers the Masters Adult Swim Team which is slated to meet 5:45-7:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The Waterdawgs’ swim team for children between the age of six and 14 is scheduled to meet Monday through Thursday in the evening. Times have yet to be determined.
Both the Masters Adult Swim Team and the Waterdawgs require swimmers to join the U.S. Masters Swimming national organization for the adult swim team and the United States Swimming organization for the Waterdawgs. In addition, there will be a $60 monthly fee due to the Aquatic Center for the Waterdawgs swim team. A monthly fee for the masters swim team has not yet been determined.
For the junior high school and high school swimmers who want to compete out of season, the Aquatic Center also has a competitive swimming program during the summer from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and the cost is $45 to attend.
Also available is Senior Swim from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m Monday through Friday for all those age 55 years or older and a water aerobics class for $30 a month 5-6 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
For those who desire a pool party, groups of 15 are allowed for $100 for two hours. Each additional swimmer costs $4 per child. For private parties held after hours, the cost is $250 per hour and includes the entire facility with lifeguards.
“We have a great group of lifeguards coming back,” Wiginton said. “Some will be from the swim team and others are newer — we have a good mix. Our three head lifeguards will be Amanda Jones, Nick Turner and Konner Croft.”
There are other packages available to those who swim more frequently than once a summer.
A punch card is offered for the first time and includes 10 visits for $40. For those who swim every day, a season pass can also be purchased for $75 for an individual or $200 for a family of four with a cost of $50 for each additional member.
For more information, contact Wiginton at 580-481-2269.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.