The pool is filling this week at Jackson Aquatics Center in Medford, and the staff is bracing for an early opening, with big crowds expected for Memorial Day weekend.

The pool is filling this week at Jackson Aquatics Center in Medford, and the staff is bracing for an early opening, with big crowds expected for Memorial Day weekend.

The Medford Parks and Recreation Department has a handful of new features and events planned for the pool this summer, and has had to get creative in utilizing time and space to compensate for the temporary closing of Hawthorne Pool.

"We're trying to reorganize the way we do things, to multi-task the pool as much as possible," said Recreation Supervisor Sue McKenna. "We expanded as much as we can, using every inch of pool space and time."

More than 25,000 people visit the Jackson Aquatics Center on Summit Avenue each summer, and McKenna said they are used to turning people away when they reach capacity.

"We turn people away almost every day, during every session," McKenna said. "Unfortunately, I think we will be turning more people away now."

McKenna said they used to send people to Hawthorne Pool when they filled up, but that isn't an option this summer.

"Right now it is just closed for the season, but we are still in the process of doing testing. It was leaking 33,000 gallons of water a day when it was filled."

Medford Parks and Recreation officials are concerned about reduced access to swim lessons and other classes because of the Hawthorne Pool closure. About 1,600 kids come to the pools each summer for swim lessons and as many as 600 might be out of luck this summer.

McKenna says Jackson pool will be divided between lap swim, open swim and private parties in order to have more than one activity happening at the same time.

"We can't make up for the lessons completely, but we're doing the best we can to optimize what we have," said McKenna. "We're trying to work with all the different groups coming to the pool, without impacting the public open swim time.

The newest additions to the park are a 30-foot inflatable slide and a climbing wall, as well as a handful of new classes and organized activities.

Jackson County Library Services is sponsoring "Flick 'N' Float Nights," with four poolside movie showings over the summer. The first is "Hook" playing at dusk on July 8. Admission to the movies is $3 for adults and $1 for children.

The pool will also host three "Rock 'N' Swim Nights," with DJs, games and contests for teenagers 13 to 17 years old. The first will take place June 18.

The pool will be open seven days a week this summer from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Regular admission to the Jackson Aquatics Center costs $3 for adults and $1 for children.

A full list of events and a schedule of open swim times can be found at playmedford.com.

Teresa Ristow is a reporting intern from Southern Oregon University. Reach her at teresa.ristow@gmail.com.