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Thumb print ID coming to the pool

By Staff | Sep 2, 2012

Lifeguards Stacy Hearn and Cassie Thompson show ‘thumbs up’ to the news that a fingerprint ID system will replace the current sign-in with your name ledger.

Next summer when you head to the Blue Earth Municipal Swimming Pool you will need to make sure to bring your goggles, sun screen and your thumb.

Your thumb?

You’ll need to place your thumb on a special ID pad that will read your fingerprint and see if you are on the list of season pass holders.

“We had a really great year at the pool,” manager Michele Hall told the Blue Earth City Council recently. “But, we continue to have one issue properly tracking season pass holders.”

The solution?

All people connected to a season pass will be fingerprinted. When they come to the pool and place their thumb on the pad, a computer at the entrance desk will quickly pull up the person’s season pass status.

Or, whether they need to pay the daily fee to get in.

“We just have so many people coming to the pool now that it takes our staff time to look them up and see if they are on a season pass, either single or family,”says Hall.

Often times a family pass is purchased at the start of the season, with perhaps six names on it. Later in the year there may be as many as 12 names on the list.

“We get boyfriends, girlfriends, visiting nieces and nephews, babysitters, you name it,” Hall says. “We know the system is being abused. But, a lot of times our younger lifeguards just give up and let them in.”

With the new system, the computer will automatically determine if someone is on the pass list or not no question about it.

Hall says a variation of the same system is being used at Little Giants to check people in and out of the child care center.

At their last meeting, the Blue Earth City Council authorized adding the cost of the system to the 2013 budget, but a formal motion to authorize the purchase this year was withdrawn.

The cost of the computer program for the system is $1,208, while the new computer to operate it, as well as the fingerprint ID pad is $2,152, for a total cost of $3,360.

The software is from Procare Software, while the computer equipment is from local company Midwest IT.

The pool manager also suggested that next year they may need to limit the number of people on a family pass to four, with additional family members paying $20 each to be added to the pass.

Many pools do this, she says. The other option is to lower the individual rate and do away with the family pass altogether. But, she says, that might be the best option.

Hall says the pool had a very successful year. It closed for the season this past Tuesday.

She says the pool was only closed on one day due to weather, on Sunday, Aug. 12.

“Being closed just one day in the whole summer season has never happened in my 16 years at the pool,” she says.