By Pelham Matthews, David Radford, Eric Maxfield,

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Heather McCaig, Kara McCaig,Brilyn Clargo, Kim Cotgreave


On hot early June day, as Kate Smith stared out at the John
Rhodes pool through her office window she wondered: Where do we go
from here? Kate, Aquatic Supervisor of the John Rhodes
Community Centre Pool, gazed appreciatively at the walls and
thought back her history at the pool.

Kate had previously worked for the Queen Elizabeth pool, which
the city of Sault Ste Marie turned into a parking lot. Out of
the asphalt, like a phoenix, rose the John Rhodes pool. The
pool opened in 2000, but many customers feel a familiarity with the
pool that would suggest it is much older.

The facility is in excellent condition and the layout is all
about fun. The main pool is 25 metres long and eight lanes wide,
with a diving board and a rope swing. There is also a pool
dedicated to swimming laps and another toddler pool reserved for
small children – the toddler pool is one of the biggest
attractions. It has a large water slide, two smaller slides, water
fountains, and a beach front area.

The lifeguards at the pool are well trained and ensure the
safety of all swimmers, big and small. There is a sign on the
wall displaying the pool rules such as: no running, no food or
drink on deck, no shoes on deck, no diving in shallow end, and keep
small children within arms reach. There are also some more
specific rules. Each of these rules is supposed to be
strictly enforced by the lifeguards. Sometimes kids just don’t want
to listen, but some lifeguards do not enforce the rules as strictly
as they should. The lifeguards don’t want to ruin swimmers’
fun by being overly strict. Better education of the swimmers about
pool safety and the dangers of breaking the rules is an option Kate
had considered.

The pool also has a spectator viewing gallery that seats 400,
separate male/female/family change rooms, three special function
meeting rooms, barrier free access to most of the building, several
multi-purpose classrooms, lounge and restaurant facilities,
concession areas, and a pro shop.

The local Sault Ste Marie Aquatic Club, Soo Tridents Underwater
Hockey Club, Soo Masters Polar Bear Club, Algoma District School
Board, and the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board all
use the John Rhodes pool on a regular basis. It is the
preferred training facility for any serious swimmers.


Aggressive parents have become a major trend in recent
years. For some reason, more and more parents shout at their
kids in the pool, either with praise or with reproach. This
aggressive behaviour sometimes makes the swimming instructor’s job
more difficult due to the fact that the parents are in the balcony
watching and hearing everything. Aggressive parents also pressure
Kate to pass a child who has failed a swim class. Kate has so far
remained impassive to the pressure.

Some of the more common complaints Kate receives are:

  • Instructors not getting into the water; they spend most of
    their time talking to other instructors instead of teaching; there
    are too many different instructors during the courses- children
    need continuity.
  • Lifeguards are not enforcing the rules.
  • The change rooms are small, dirty, and showers being too cold
    or too hot.

When customers are unhappy, they let staff know! Sometimes they
take their anger out on the canteen staff, other times they
complain to lifeguards or instructors. If the situation is not
resolved at that level, the person is then directed to speak either
to the head lifeguard on duty, or Kate, if she is in her
office. On those occasions when complaining only to the Boss
will do and she is not present, Kate’s business cellphone number is
given to the patron. In many cases the complaint is so important
that the upset patron doesn’t even bother calling her.

The swimming lessons are divided into a level system which is
derived from the Red Cross’s AquaQuest swim safety program. Kate
has decided to update the current swim program to a new Red Cross
Swim program. This will simplify the levels and add a fitness
component to address the growing trend in unhealthy lifestyles,
even in children. Most parents don’t understand the level system or
just don’t care (at least until their child fails the course). It
is usually only the kids taking lessons who truly value their
achievement. But, Kate is still not sure this is a good idea,
something new to explain to parents. If Kate decides not to go with
the new Red Cross program, all the materials are refundable if they
are returned before September. Kate must make the decision
relatively soon, as staff must still receive training. The training
period is projected to take at least a month.


The John Rhodes centre is located in Sault Ste Marie
(Sault). The town is on the US – Canada border, in Northern
Ontario and a population of approximately 75,000. As a whole the
economy in the Sault has been in decline for years. The
underperforming steel industry has had a crippling effect on the
town which has previously been dependant on the Algoma Steel plant
for a large portion of its employment opportunities.

The neighbourhood surrounding the John Rhodes is in one of the
wealthier districts of the Sault, and is near the local University.
Because of the baby boomer generation, a noticeable and growing
percentage of Sault Ste. Marie’s population is composed of seniors
who have a strong interest in healthy activities.

Most of John Rhodes’ current customers are small families with
one to two kids, who are generally pool program subscribers for a
period of three years. Most parents are satisfied with their
child’s swimming experience at the pool and believe their children
are satisfied as well.

The location of the pool is excellent.

The John Rhodes Community Centre is directly off of one of the
major streets in the town. This is an important quality to
current customers who appreciate its convenient location. John
Rhodes’ largest competitors are the YMCA and the Holiday Inn, both
of which have pools. These two pools are much smaller, a 25 yard
pool and a 35 foot respectively.. In Kate’s mind there are
three main factors which make a pool popular: facilities,
price, and location. The John Rhodes centre has advantages in
all three areas over the competitors. But, Kate wondered if she was
missing something.


The pool is funded by the city, through fees from swimmers and
venue programming. The price of admission for children and seniors
is $2.00, and it is $3.50 for adults for all swims except Aquabics,
which is $2.75 for seniors and $3.75 for adults. The price is
reasonable relative to the other pools in town such as the YMCA,
and the Holiday Inn. John Rhodes offers a large variety of
swims. The different sessions consist of: public swims, family
swims, preschool swims, lane swims, and Aquabics. The John Rhodes
pool provides lessons in sessions. There are eight to eleven week
sessions beginning in September, January, and April. The pool
offers two week sessions in July and August and throughout the
summer season.

During the summer, Kate is incredibly busy supervising not just
the operations of the John Rhodes pool; in addition, she is also
required to supervise the Sault’s two outdoor pools: The Greco and
The Manzo, both of which are provided free to the public. The Greco
pool is located near the International Bridge crossing into the
United States in the old residential end of town. The Manzo pool is
located near the Algoma Steel plant in what is known as the “West
End”. During the summer Kate and her staff are divided between
these three pools.


Kate is trying to market the change in the lesson program. She
is trying radio ads, but has doubts about their effectiveness in
getting the message out and across. She has had pamphlets handed
out to parents at the Centre, but those parents are already
customers. Kate thinks there is great potential to attract new
customers, if she could only find a way to reach them. With only a
$1,500 budget, Kate does not have the funds to launch a large
advertising campaign, so the marketing efforts will have to be cost
effective. Kate sat at her desk looking over the figures.
During the summer months enrolment in lessons is lower than in all
other seasons, but this is offset to some degree (50%) by the
increase in public swim revenues. The Centre comes close to
capacity during these summer months, but Kate is looking for ways
to get more swimmers to get swimmers during off-peak periods
(evenings). Kate had been using the City of Sault Ste Marie’s
website to provide scheduling information to both patrons and
potential users, but few Saulities are aware of the website’s
existence, and those that are don’t use it regularly.

Kate also attempts to keep her staff informed, she distributes a
newsletter to employees to keep them up to date. Kate’s canteen
staff, deck attendants, lifeguards and instructors are mostly
composed of high school and college/university students ranging
from 15 to 24 years old. Many of them have been swimming at
the John Rhodes centre for years. Instructor and lifeguard
certification can be obtained once the staff member is 16 years old
by taking the Instructor (WSI) course or the Life Guarding (NLS)
course respectively. Employee turnover is fairly high, this is
especially true for canteen staff as they are generally not old
enough to take Instructors or NLS training. The post-secondary
students are gone during the school year (September through April),
but Kate usually hires them back next summer. Kate does most of her
new hiring in September after College/University bound staff has
left, at which time she can accurately determine how many new
employees are needed.

Kate’s stress levels are rising along with the temperature. The
summer season is here, and Kate must decide if the timing is right
to implement the new Red Cross Swim Program, and how to market the
other programs the John Rhodes centre offers. Kate walked around
the perimeter of the John Rhodes pool after it had closed for the
night. She wished other people could see the pool the way she
did. The calming effect it had on her. How could she market

Required: Write a solution to this case in the following memo











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