New aquatics director starts at newly renovated Port Angeles pool
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Christi Wojnowski began working at the newly renovated indoor pool in Port Angeles on Aug. 12.
She handles day-to-day operations, pool programing, lifeguard training, swim instructor training, public outreach and other responsibilities.
The 36-year-old Chicago native arrived in Port Angeles by way of Liberal, Kan., where she ran a water park.
“My husband and I both love this area,” said Wojnowski, who has also lived in Bend, Ore., and the Seattle area.
“We knew we would eventually be back here.”
William Shore Memorial Pool Executive Director Steve Burke said Wojnowski is “motivated” and “very well qualified.”
“She comes from an aquatics park larger than ours,” Burke said.
“She has quite a bit of experience, and they wanted to move to the area.”
In Kansas, Wojnowski became familiar with the same lifeguard training program that is used at William Shore Memorial Pool.
“She knows our system very well,” Burke said.
“We didn’t need to do a lot of training. She has experience in everything we do, all the core things.”
The aquatics director had been a shared position in the past.
“They are essentially responsible for all of the pool programs and operations,” Burke said.
The 51-year-old pool at 225 E. Fifth St., underwent a $2 million renovation last spring.
The improvements include a new air-handling unit, electrical system, plumbing, energy efficiency upgrades, a salt water-ultraviolet water treatment system and a climbing wall.
“What they have done here, No. 1, has made it really low maintenance,” Wojnowski said.
“A lot of it is self sufficient.”
A new automated heating system keeps the pool at a near-constant temperature between 83 and 83.5 degrees.
Burke said the water temperature is a little warm for lap swimmers, a little cool for water aerobics classes and just about right for kids.
While indoor pools are “notorious” for trapping high humidity, Wojnowski said the upgrades have made the pool “much more comfortable for a wide range of people.”
“We were running 90 to 95 percent humidity,” Burke said.
“Now we run at 50 to 55 percent humidity. We don’t have all that condensation on the walls all the time.”
Pool officials had hoped the energy efficiencies would cut the $10,000-per-month electricity bill in half. The savings have been slightly better than expected, Burke said.
Among the most popular features has been the 16-foot-tall rock climbing wall, which is used interchangeably with diving boards on the deep end of the pool.
“The kids love it,” Wojnowski said.
“Everybody has been very respectful. Obviously, you can’t have all the deep water features going on at the same time.”
The climbing wall is the first of its kind in the state, Burke told Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce members in June.
“Once that rock climbing wall is open, all of the kids just want to try it out,” Wojnowski said.
As the executive director, Burke handles the budgets, audits and other administrative tasks. He also handles pool maintenance by choice.
“I’m supposed to be part-time, at least in theory,” he said.
Once owned by the city of Port Angeles, William Shore Memorial Pool is now a junior taxing district that mirrors the boundaries of the Port Angeles School District.
As such, Burke reports to a five-member governing board comprised of Port Angeles City Council members Brad Collins and Patrick Downie, Clallam County Commissioners Mike Chapman and Mike Doherty and Nippon paper mill Production Manager Gary Holmquist.
The pool offers swimming lessons, water Zumba, shallow- and deep-water aerobics classes, water walking classes and synchronized swimming.
It is also the home of the Port Angeles High School girls’ and boys’ swim teams.
William Shore Memorial Pool has six full-time employees and 25 part-time lifeguards on staff.
Asked about her first impressions of Port Angeles, Wojnowski said the mountains and water are a stark contrast to the flat Midwest.
She added that the community has been welcoming to her and her husband, Arthur.
“Obviously, you can’t ignore the beauty,” Wojnowski said, adding: “Everybody has made it a point to introduce themselves.”
For information about William Shore Memorial Pool, visit www.williamshorepool.org.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 02. 2013 3:57PM