Feature Article - April 2003
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Keeping Up Appearances

Good housekeeping and maintenance strategies for aquatic centers and other rec facilities

By Kelli Anderson


No matter what your mother told you, looks matter—at least in the business of running a recreation facility. If things are allowed to become tattered, faded or coated with a grimy film of dust and mystery-goo, patrons will not have much trouble assuming that the cleanliness of the water is questionable as well.

"Housekeeping kills us," says Wally James, president of Con-Serv Associates of Atlanta. "It sure makes our guests wonder if we're really staying on top of things. If the facility isn't clean, I'm going to wonder whether or not the water is clean."

And in the case of an aquatic facility, not keeping up with housekeeping is not only bad for appearances, it's just plain bad business.

Just as with people, the strategy for keeping a facility trim and sparkling is both a mixture of daily diligence combined with periodic dramatic do-overs: kind of a regular fitness routine meets tummy-tuck. With some well-planned effort applied by the right people at the right time and in the right way, your facility could virtually lie about its age year after year after year. Honest.

Water and Pools 101

When it comes to the aquatic industry's hub for useful information, the near-50 year-old National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI) is an excellent resource. The association has more than 5,300 national and international trade connections with 81 chapters in 11 regions and boasts its sponsorship of the world's largest international trade show in the industry.

With the broad-based help of the NSPI, everything from learning about industry standards and construction practices, obtaining certification in technical/business disciplines for pool and spa builders to having access to latest market research and retail/service companies is at a member's disposal.

For more information about the National Spa and Pool Institute, visit www.NSPI.org or call 800-323-3996.

Another source to turn to for info on water quality, pool material choices or virtually anything related to the aquatic industry, Alison Osinski, Ph.D., owner of Aquatic Consulting Services in San Diego is pretty much the Queen of All Things Wet.

If you are trying to decide between using the currently popular carbon dioxide or the more traditional muriatic acid in balancing pH, between bromine or chlorine as a sanitizer, or evaluating the everlasting virtues of tile over the various attributes of fiberglass, Osinski's Web page and more than 120 books on answers to your aquatic questions are valuable resources.

For more information, visit www.alisonosinski.com.