Reston Association Grapples with Lifeguard Shortage for Pools

Several pools suddenly closed over the holiday weekend when Reston Association announced that it did not have enough lifeguards to staff several of the 15 pools the organization manages.

Now, RA is moving aggressively to hire more lifeguards ahead of the weekend in what is becoming an annual and familiar staffing challenge. The problem was exacerbated by several lifeguards who called in sick over the weekend, according to RA.

In the past, RA has changed the staffing structure so that lifeguards are standalone positions. Duties previous performed by lifeguards are separated into other positions like desk attendant and pool operator. Staff are also exploring increasing the pay for lifeguards and changing the pool schedule for peak hours.

There are many competing opportunities for summer employment in this area to include summer internships, family schedules and vacations, restaurants, other services and with growth in the area other summer jobs are available at a higher salary. Ten years ago, this was not the case, a lifeguarding job was sought out with our roster filled and substitutes waiting for an opportunity for a full time role,” Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications, marketing and member services wrote in s statement to Reston Now.

RA is hiring for 200 full-time lifeguards positions and unlimited substitute positions. So far, 156 people have applied.

Leone also attributed the shortage to an overall reduction in the number of teens between age 16 and 19 who are actively participating in the workforce. 

But staffing was not the only reason that pools closed over the weekend.

All pool are currently open, but Lake Thoreau’s pool remains closed after staff found broken glass bottles on the deck and in the pool over the weekend. RA believes vandalism happened sometime between the overnight hours of Friday to Saturday.

The pool will reopen once a scuba diver inspects the facility and clears it for reopening. Divers are expected to begin work early this week, but it’s unclear when the pool will reopen.

Uplands lap pool also closed temporarily after some equipment failed over the weekend. The issue has now been resolved and all areas of the pool are now open.

In a statement, RA’s CEO Hank Lynch apologized for the closures.

“Like many community and recreational associations in our area, RA is trying to meet the challenge of hiring staff for various summertime positions,” he said.

So far, no changes to the weekend pool schedule are proposed. RA plans to update members about the weekend schedule as the week progresses.

A job fair to recruit more lifeguards is set for Thursday (May 30) at 6 p.m. at Newbridge Pool and June 13 at 4 p.m. at Lake Newport Pool.

RA’s recruitment strategy also includes emailing local sports groups, working with local universities, turning to social media, and providing information during community events.

File photo

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Reston Association Completes Upgrades to Pools Ahead of Summer Season

Restonians returning the Reston Association’s pools will see several upgrades this season, especially at the Lake Newport Pool (11601 Lake Newport Road).

That pool, which opens May 25, closed last summer for several improvements, including a new pool plaster surface, new pool tiles, and new sinks, countertops and flooring tiles in the bathhouse. Plumbing was also redone for the bathhouse system, according to Nate Wheeler, RA’s aquatics facility supervisor.

A new 50-meter lane was also added to the pool, which will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on weekends and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The pool is closed on Fridays.

Wheeler said that this year has been a “big year” for spas as well. New plaster surface was installed at the spas at Glade, North Hills, and Hunters Woods. The spa at North Shore was rebuilt to address an underground leak.

The circulation equipment for the fountain at Uplands was replaced as well, Wheeler said.

“We’re looking forward to having people enjoy the bright colors and smoother operations all summer,” he said.

Pool passes can be renewed online. This year’s pool schedule is also available on RA’s website. The aquatics facilities at North Shore and Ridge Heights are the first to open this season on May 11.

Photo by Reston Association/YouTube

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Capital Projects Slated for Next Year in Reston

With just more than half of the capital projects completed this year, the Reston Association is already looking ahead to ones for next year.

Senior Capital Projects Operations Manager Chris Schumaker highlighted some of the “key” projects slated for 2019 in a Reston Association video.

Originally developed in 1965, the Hook Road Recreation Area will see architectural and engineering changes. The area, which has remained largely unchanged since tennis and baseball amenities were added in 1973, was identified for major revitalization in 2016 after a review of facility enhancements approved by RA’s Board of Directors.

Bathroom renovations are slated for Lake Newport Pool (11601 Lake Newport Road).

A dredging project will begin for Lake Audubon. Residents were warned in September to avoid the lake after a harmful algae bloom was spotted. The bloom, called Microcystis, can produce toxins that are lethal for livestock, fish, and people. Some toxins have been linked to liver cancer.

Nestled in the woods, the Walker Nature Education Center will receive accessibility improvements.

A little more than half of Reston’s capital projects were finished this year, Schumaker told RA’s board at a meeting last Thursday (Dec. 13).

Finished ones included renovating the Pony Barn, located at the corner of Steeplechase Drive and Triple Crown Road, to include an ADA-accessible parking lot, bathroom and pathway, along with adding concrete flooring to the pavilion and grill station. The project also included a new drainage system and playground.

The Central Services Facility at 12250 Sunset Hills Road had a “major transformation” with new energy efficient windows, a new HVAC and bathroom facilities and improvements for accessibility and security. The building had not been updated since it was built in 1982, Schumaker said.

Dredging was completed for Lake Thoreau this year. “Removing the sediment helps improve the overall health of the lake for many years to come,” Schumaker said.

Some of this year’s projects nearing completion include new flooring, paint, fixtures and lighting in the Glade Room at 11550 Glade Drive and tree removal along the dam at Butler Pond at 1145 Water Pointe Lane.

Photos via Reston Association/YouTube

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Company’s Volunteer Work Helps Revitalize Lake Newport Pool

Over 80 Deloitte employees worked June 9 to revitalize Lake Newport Pool.

The volunteers replaced benches inside the facility, removed invasive plants around the entry of the pool, and landscaped. The work was part of the professional services firm’s Impact Day, which involves projects around the world in efforts to show their commitment to the local communities around their offices.

“Without their help, it usually staff takes a week or two, even months, to complete these projects,” said Ha Brock, Reston Association volunteer coordinator.

The event was captured through the hashtag #ImpactThatMatters on social media.

Brock says there are many ways to contribute to important work being done around Reston throughout the year, through programs like Reston’s Habitat Heroes. The group works from March through November removing invasive plants from wildlife.

Habitat Heroes meets every fourth Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon. The next event is Saturday, June 24 at South Lakes High School.

Images via Volunteer Reston on Facebook

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Three More Pool Hours Each Day — Lake Newport Pool is opening each weekday at 10 a.m. and will continue to do so through June 23. The pool, which is open until 7 p.m., had been originally scheduled to open at 1 p.m. each day. The pool is closed on Fridays. [Reston Association]

Meeting on RTC North Project Tonight — Proposed redevelopment of Reston Town Center North will be the topic of a community meeting hosted by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services along with Supervisor Cathy Hudgins from 7-9 p.m in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). [Fairfax County DPWES]

SLHS Runners Heads to States This Week — The South Lakes High School track and field team will participate in the state championships Friday and Saturday in Newport News. Last weekend, the team had strong performances at the North Region championship, including a record-tying effort by freshman Hannah Waller. [Reston Patch]

Reckless Gun Discharge at Chantilly Chick-fil-A — Fairfax County Police reports a 38-year-old woman was struck in the hand by a stray bullet while walking in the restaurant’s parking lot Tuesday afternoon. [FOX 5]

File photo courtesy Carole Burnett

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UPDATE: Lake Newport Pool Will Reopen Saturday

Lake Newport's Forest Adams, Jack Biear, Chris Karim, and Sam Angel take  off in the Boys 8 & Under 25-meter Backstroke/Credit: RSTA Repairs have been completed and Lake Newport Pool will reopen on Saturday, July 19, Reston Association officials said.

The pool will have a modified schedule this weekend:

Saturday, July 19 – 1-8 p.m.;  Sunday, July 20 –  Noon – 5:30 p.m.;  Monday, July 21 – normal operating hours.

The pool has been closed for more than a week in order to repair a mechanical failure with the main pool pump.

Lake Newport, located at 11601 Lake Newport Rd. in North Reston, is Reston Association’s only 50-meter pool. It is the site of many community events, all of which were canceled or moved this week.

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