Director has been part of Lebanon pool for most of her life

Lorlee Engler has been connected to the Lebanon Community Pool for most of her life, starting with swimming lessons when she was 8 years old.

Throughout the years, she has filled roles as head coach and life guard before taking the reins as executive director of the Lebanon Aquatic District, which operates the pool, in 2014.

Engler said district staff have  tried to keep the pool relevant to the community’s changing needs.

The pool,  located next to Lebanon High School, is used for P.E., swim club, swim lessons and is reserved for class parties for Lebanon’s elementary schools.

“Every third-grader in Lebanon gets free swim lessons,” Engler said.

Swim lessons used to be the bread and butter of the pool, she said, but now senior citizens are among its most frequent users.

“The warm pool could be in use 24/7 by older folks,” Engler said. “As we gray as a nation, those are my biggest users of the pool.”

In addition to swimming lessons and lap swims, the pool offers exercise classes such as yoga and aqua jogging.

“It’s a huge asset for our user base,” said board member Hal Brayton.

The pool celebrated its 50th anniversary on Aug. 26 with a public event that featured class demonstrations and recreational swimming.

The shell of the swimming pool is the original plaster job, which is on the high side of a pool’s lifespan, Engler said.

It’s in pretty good shape, she said. They’ve had some hairline cracks but the pool has not lost water except to evaporation.

The pool recently got an advanced oxidation system with help from an Energy Trust of Oregon grant.

The system, Clear Comfort, provides disinfection while allowing a reduction in chlorine, according to the company’s website.

The process will cut down on chloramines, which is what gives off that distinctive pool smell, Engler said.

Engler learned about the process at the World Aquatic Health Conference.

She has already seen a reduction in the amount of electricity used over the last couple of years since she changed all the lights in the building to more energy-efficient options.

The Clear Comfort will save even more, she said, because they will use fewer chemicals.

Her ultimate dream is to have more pool, she said.

Their location next to LHS leaves them land-locked, she added. The building that houses the pool is surrounded on the three sides by the school, the football field and a parking lot.

They partner so much with the high school, she would want to change locations.

If they moved locations for a bigger pool, “P.E. classes would stop, in my perfect world, we would be able to go out the back.”

Currently, the pool gets 60,000 visits a year, with monthly attendance ranging from 3,500 to 6,000, she said.

There are about 27 staff members and adult volunteers.

Engler said she loves them all.

“I love my job,” she said. “The first love of my life was this pool.”