Aquatic center names new aquatics manager
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
February 02, 2013 12:00 AM | 5451 views | 7 7 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Kim Baker has recently been hired as the aquatics director for the Cherokee County Aquatic Center. <br>Staff/Todd Hull
Kim Baker has recently been hired as the aquatics director for the Cherokee County Aquatic Center.
Staff/Todd Hull
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HOLLY SPRINGS — When Kim Baker landed her first part-time lifeguarding gig, she didn’t think it would lead to a career.

But that’s just what happened for Baker, the new aquatics manager tapped to open the Cherokee County Aquatic Center.

Baker had been working as an aquatics manager in Virginia but jumped at the chance to come to Cherokee County when she was offered the aquatics managers position.

“It’s not like they build pools every day. When this sort of thing arises, you have to take a step back and look at the opportunity,” she said.

As aquatics manager, Baker will oversee all programming and operational aspects of the aquatic center’s indoor and outdoor pools.

In the months before the center’s opening, slated for late April or early May, Baker is concentrating on hiring, arranging schedules, setting policies and making sure the pools can open without a hitch.

She has already hired a pool technician and an aquatics coordinator.

Part-time positions, including lifeguarding posts, will be posted soon. Baker said the center will employ 70-80 part-time workers.

“Lifeguarding was a part-time job for me. You never know what can come out of a part-time job. And with lifeguarding, you get to be such an integral part of someone’s life. You could have the opportunity to save a life,” she said.

The center will provide certification for new lifeguard hires, but already being certified is a plus.

Baker first worked in aquatics management in college and was a pool manager at a satellite campus of George Mason University after graduation.

There, she was responsible for overseeing lifeguards and events, which included state high school tournaments and elite league tournaments.

She has overseen the grand openings and initial operations of two aquatic centers in Virginia since then.

Baker studied exercise science in college and is passionate about providing fitness opportunities for people of all ages and skill levels.

“I want (the aquatic center) to be something where everybody finds a way to participate. We are going to provide such a large amount of opportunity,” she said.

In addition to providing space for competitive teams, the aquatic center will be home to individual exercise and group fitness classes, as well as swimming lessons and recreation.

“It’s not just competitive or just recreational. We’re bringing so many different things,” Baker said.

She is hoping to attract high-school teams and teams competing with national swimming organization USA Swimming.

County leaders have touted the fact that the center’s operation is projected to pay for itself, even in the first year.

“That was important, to prove it could pay for itself. That’s going to be a huge responsibility for me, and I’m looking forward to meeting those goals,” Baker said.

Construction is being funded through a portion of the $90 million park bond approved by Cherokee County voters in 2008.

The center features a 50-meter pool that can be divided into 25-yard swim areas, a smaller indoor recreation pool and an outdoor recreation area including slides, a lazy river and leisure swimming areas.

“Even coming to the outdoor pool and playing is fitness,” Baker said. “That is a very big part for me, and it’s always going to be one of our concentrations.”

Baker lives with her fiancé and daughter in Acworth. She is expecting a son in March.

After leaving her native Virginia, Baker said she’s enjoying life in Georgia so far.

“It just has a different feel. People are so nice here. Everybody’s been so welcoming,” she said.
Comments
(7)
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VA Aquatic Expert
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May 04, 2013
Opening a state of the art public Aquatics facility is by far one of the most difficult and challenging tasks for a Recreation Agency. Hiring quality leadership that can provide clear direction, sustain the long hours, chart a path towards self sustainability is becoming more & more challenging. Best of luck to you...we all hope Ms. Baker has learned from all the experiences she has encountered in Virginia. Otherwise, your operation and safe reputation is at extreme risk.
Concerned in GA
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July 17, 2014
I would love to hear about more specific experiences with Ms. Baker.
Voice of Reason #2
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February 16, 2013
I'm not sure anybody should take anyone's comment seriously if they can't even spell words such as fulfilled and Georgia correctly. Speaking from experience of working with Miss Baker, I think she will be a great attribute to the facility. She truly has a passion for what she is doing, and anyone who feels differently probably just has some personal issues to deal with.
voice of reason
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February 13, 2013
Speaking from experience with Miss Baker, she has NOT fuflfilled any of her duties correctly as aquatics manager in Virginia, in both of the centers she has worked at. Hopefully she has changed her ways otherwise, it's safe to say I told you so. Good Luck Gerogia!
concerned citizen
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February 12, 2013
this has nothing to do with the pool but have you guys done any fact checking on her or any of the pools she has worked for in the past?!
Three Jack
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February 02, 2013
What an absolute waste of taxpayer money.
Open minded voter
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February 06, 2013
Obviously the majority of taxpayers disagree with you @Three Jack! They voted in favor of the aquatic center twice. The aquatic center will add to the quality of life here in Cherokee and will help to drive economic development.
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