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New Frances Meadows Center looking for new hires
East Gainesville site to open Aug. 30
Leonol M. Garcia installs edging at the base of a waterslide Friday afternoon at the construction site of the new Frances Meadows Center in East Gainesville. The $16 million center is planned for opening at the end of August.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, people filled the Gainesville Civic Center to apply for one of more than 40 job opportunities at the new Frances Meadows Center as opening day draws nearer.

Gainesville’s Parks Director Melvin Cooper says the $16 million complex of pools and meeting rooms in East Gainesville will make a splash by Aug. 30.

The new aquatics center boasts 34,000 square feet of outdoor swimming area, complete with a lazy river, spray fountains and zero-depth entry. Already, there are 15 to 20 swim meets planned for the center’s 10-lane indoor competitive pool, which meets both U.S. Aquatics standards and international standards. For those who want to watch those swim meets, there is a 300-seat spectator area at the foot of the competition pool.

Another four-lane indoor pool sits parallel to the competition pool. This smaller swimming area will serve as a warm-up pool for swim meets and a place for water aerobics. The pool has a wheelchair ramp, and it will soon have an elevator and be used for therapy sessions, said Cooper.

The center also has a 2,000-square-foot fitness area, which Cooper says is part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s health and fitness initiative. Initially, the room will serve as a space for aerobics classes to "provide that exercise and fitness component" of the Frances Meadows Center.

The jobs available are in a variety of categories, including custodial positions, lifeguards, water safety, water aerobics, fitness and nutrition instructors, personal trainers, front desk positions, community center attendants, individuals who can teach specialized classes and also for positions available at the Civic Center.

Most positions are part-time, except for one full-time custodial position. Jennifer Colvin, the division manager of the center, said that after this basic screening, the applicants will go to the hiring managers, who will then select the best people for the job.

Training for the newly selected applicants will begin in mid-August. Every person will go through a basic First Aid and CPR training class, and further specialized training will be given after that time.

The job fair continues on July 26, and Colvin hopes to have 300 attendants over the course of the two days.

The Frances Meadows Center also has a large meeting area, or "multipurpose" area, that will be available for rentals and for use with day camp programs.

Once construction on the new Gainesville Middle School is complete in 2009, students will be able to walk a short path to the center for swimming classes or after-school leisure.

The center is the result of a partnership with the city school system; the two agencies jointly purchased the 53 acres on which the school and the aquatics center are located. The parks department and the middle school will be able to share facilities only a few feet away.

Staff writer Ashley Fielding contributed to this article.

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