New River Pool looking forward to June 4 opening

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The first day of summer begins on Thursday, June 20 with the solstice and plenty of heat.

So you’ll want to make sure you have access to a neighborhood pool.

It’s head lifeguard Evan Laraba’s third year working at New River Pool. What keeps him coming back? He likes being outside, working with the kids and ensuring everyone stays safe.

“There’s a large variety of people that come here,” said Laraba. “It’s a lot more interaction here, a lot more to deal with, kind of keeps you, you know, on your toes.”

New River Pool is still onboarding all their lifeguards and getting them recertified. Getting the pool open on June 4 is a collaborative effort.

“A few lifeguards have come back early from school this year, so we’ve put them to work, public works is helping us, as well as the maintenance men from Parks and Rec,” said director Leslie Gray Baker. “But you can’t start early because we have bad weather and some of the things the weather has to be right.”

It’s starting to feel a lot like summer out here. Things are definitely heating up, and that means one thing — time to get into a pool.

To protect this pool requires becoming a lifeguard and passing the American Red Cross’ Lifeguard Certification program, which entails several steps.

“Can you swim really well, online test, paper test, and then a skills test,” Laraba said. “You have to show that you can make all the saves — CPR, first aid training.”

According to Baker, they are in the middle of a major study to determine what kind of pool (or) ‘aquatic center’ they need. It’s an amenity they have to continue to provide the community. But first, they want to see what the future holds.

“Is it just gonna be a pool with a diving well and a water slide? There’s so many new things on the market now. This pool is 50-some years old and it’s way different,” said the parks & rec director. “So hopefully by the end of the summer, we’ll know exactly what direction we’re gonna take and how long it’s gonna take us. And then we’ll begin to acquire the funds that we need.”

New River Pool doesn’t do memberships or passes but works on a day-to-day pay basis. Evan and Leslie can’t wait to kick off the new summer season at the pool.

“Sometimes it can take a little bit before everything’s set up and we get rolling,” Laraba said. “But I’m really ready to get open and get people here.”

Added Baker, “We’re gonna continue to do it for as long as we can, hopefully forever. And we’re really looking forward to the possibility of a brand new center for all of our citizens.”

New River Pool Hours:


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