After announcing the re-opening of all summer programs last week, the West River Community Center has announced phase two of re-opening has officially begun as of Monday, May 25. Phase two mainly involved the re-opening of the indoor pools, the sauna, hot tub and the locker rooms. The WRCC will also be officially opening the outdoor pool on Friday, May 29.

With the Park & Recreation team getting the guidelines from the state of North Dakota based on modifications regarding the pools, the board was able to view the guidelines and make the correct modifications available to open the pools on Memorial Day. Families were eager to dive into the indoor pools and officially begin the early stages of summer.

“We were just waiting on word and guidance from the state and that’s what we got,” Matt Mack, the director of recreation/facilities reports, said. “We got the pools back open yesterday.”

Mack stated the pool area will mainly consist of very similar modifications as seen throughout the WRCC and the community with distancing being the key factor to safety. Mack also mentioned the outdoor pool will only allow half occupancy throughout the summer to keep proper distancing.

“The main thing is what everybody keeps stating, having at least six feet of distance from each other, that’s mainly the big thing,” Mack said. “We also added some procedures for our staff to do for cleaning in those areas, we’re doing what we can to provide a safe environment in that pool area and the entire facility, and if people are not feeling well or if they are sick then they should definitely stay home.”

Mack added, “With the water slides, every six feet we put some tape down so that there’s some visual cues as far as spacing from one another and waiting in line, to get on the slides. Even with the outdoor pools, if there looks to be any chance of a line, we will have a clear, visual cues that people just need to mind when waiting in line. We will also be doing extra and excessive cleaning throughout the day and potentially looking at break times with the outdoor pools throughout the day so we can get done what we need to get done as far as cleaning goes.”

As for the sauna, steam room and hot tub, Mack stated only three people can be in the sauna/steam room and can sit where the visual markers are for safety. The hot tub will allow six people at one time to monitor the six feet distancing with visual markers as well. Mack stated the locker rooms will be available to all guests but with six feet distancing.

For the staff and administration, the re-opening of the indoor and being only days away from the outdoor pool being opened are positive factors. However, members of the board are hoping to get back to being fully functional sometime this summer.

“It feels good to have these open,” Mack said. “But it will feel even better once we can get all of the fitness equipment back to full use, we’re still having to have every other piece of equipment closed and it will feel good to get that opened … the next thing to potentially be opening, we’re looking at within the next week or so, is the daycare facilities.”

As for the numbers of occupants using the facility, even in the brief amount of time, the WRCC is starting to climb once again.

“Prior to the pools opening, we’ve seen about 25% of what we typically see,” Mack said. “Even though the pools have been open for only a full work day and a half, when I pulled into the facility this morning for work, I could tell there were a lot more cars and people in the parking lot … it certainly feels and looks like we have more people using the facility.”

Mack stated Phase III will be if and when the WRCC will be able to get back to being fully functional. For more information on the pools or Phase II, contact the WRCC at 701-456-2070.