Pool Closures Continue as Reston Association Looks to Hire More Lifeguards

Several of Reston Association’s 15 pools will be closed for the second weekend in a row due to a shortage of lifeguards. The association is working actively to hire more lifeguards and closed some pools this weekend due to safety precautions.

After closures over Memorial Day weekend, all aquatics facilities except Lake Thoreau pool, were open as scheduled during the weekdays. Lake Thoreau’s pool opened Thursday evening after shattered glass was found inside the pool over the weekend. RA believes the pool was vandalized.

The following pools will be closed tomorrow (June 1):

  • Autumnwood
  • Golf Course Island
  • Lake Audubon
  • Newbridge
  • Shadowood

The following pools will be closed on Sunday (June 2):

  • Dogwood
  • Golf Course Island
  • Shadowood
  • Tall Oaks

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 wrote.

RA will host one or two job fairs to hire staff for its pools, typically high school and college students. The organization adjusts its seasonal pool schedule to coincide with the availability of students who are off from school. Interested applicants can apply online.

Photo by Leslie Sogandares

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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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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lifeguard Shortage Prompts Pool Schedule Change — RA changed the schedule of its pools over the weekend due to an unexpected shortage of lifeguards. The organization is actively hiring lifeguards for this year’s season. A job fair is set for Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at a local pool. [Reston Association]

The Washington Post Releases Endorsements for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors — The paper endorsed Walter Alcorn for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, calling him a “formidable land-use expert.” [The Washington Post]

INOVA Blood Drive is Today — Stop by the bloodmobile truck next to the pavilion at Reston Town Center to date blood between 1 and 6 p.m. today. Registration is available online and on site. [Reston Town Center]

Explore Reston Association’s Home Inspection Process — Dive into the exterior inspection process that is required by RA before selling your home. [Reston Today]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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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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Artist Creating Mosaic Public Art for RCC’s Aquatics Center Revamp

(Updated) Reston will welcome a new public art piece when the Reston Community Center debuts its newly renovated Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center in the fall.

RCC chose mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to create mosaic artwork for two large wall panels adjacent to the pool overlook area.

RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon told Reston Now that having Theberge on board from the start of the renovation, which will update the 40-year-old aquatics center with two pools, allows for the engineers, designers and the artist to plan how the wall with the art will look and get used, with conversations ranging from color palettes to electrical engineering decisions.

Theberge has been working with the project team, which includes RCC’s Deputy Director John Blevins and Martha Sansaver, Karen Davis and Geoff Kimmel from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and the contracting firm Branch Builds — previously named Branch & Associates.

Currently, Theberge is in the preliminary design stages for the art, which will occupy two main panels that are about 50 square feet each.

“I keep getting snapshots of what’s going to come and it keeps percolating, because we have been talking about this for a year,” she told Reston Now. “It will be strong and vocal.”

Unlike her previous mosaic art at the Glade Drive Underpass and the Dogwood Pool, Theberge says this piece is influenced by its different location, one that she describes as indoors, focused on people instead of nature and “white, clean, quiet.”

“The other ones are very earth-centered and this is very water-centered,” Theberge said, adding that she plans to add “sparklers” so that viewers will feel movement in the art.

In a group interview with Reston Now, Theberge and Gordon shared different elements that stand out to them about the aquatics center, including the contrast between the water’s buoyancy and the hard surfaces on the ground, the windowless cave-esque location, the polarity between the exterior and interior worlds and the action of people stripping off layers of clothing before they get into the water. While some of those evocative ideas might sound harsh or vulnerable, Gordon emphasized that “it is hard to be hostile in the presence of art.”

Once Theberge has a design, she said she will build the two pieces in her studio before they get bolted onto the wall.

Once installed, community engagement activities and art workshops will allow Restonians to respond to the art. “It’s not one monolithic swimming community. There are families. There are older adults. There are swim teams, and every one of those groups of people have different desires,” Gordon said.

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Town of Herndon Considering Hiking Fees for Facility Use

The Town of Herndon may slightly increase the fees for facility uses and rentals while eliminating its use of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s fee structure.

Herndon’s Parks and Recreation Department provides for community-use facilities at the Herndon Community Center, which includes a pool, gym, tennis courts, fitness rooms and drop-in child care.

For about 12 years, the Parks and Recreation facilities fee schedule has included a pricing structure for community center admission fees and passes tied to the Fairfax County Park Authority rates.

A department review of current services and operational costs prompted the Town Council to rethink its use of FCPA rates.

“Staff is proposing that structure be revised to eliminate the connection to FCPA due to the significant increase in their proposed non-resident rates, which would be detrimental to a large percentage of Herndon Community Center users,” the Parks and Recreation staff report says.

The Town Council now has a proposed resolution that would base the fees on a daily resident/non-resident fee. The change is expected to recover 75 percent of the department’s operating costs through fees and charges for services, according to the Town of Herndon.

The new fee would add $0.50 more to the daily rate for both residents and non-residents.

If approved, the amended fee schedule would go into effect on Sept. 1.

Images via Google Maps and Town of Herndon

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Reminder: Restonians Can Buy Their Pool and Tennis Passes

Spring is still about two weeks away, but the Reston Association wants locals to start thinking about warmer weather activities.

The Restonian Association recently took to YouTube to remind Restonians — members and nonmembers of the association — that they can purchase pool and tennis court passes.

The passes give access to the Reston Association’s 52 outdoor tennis courts and 15 pools. They can be purchased online or at the Reston Association’s Member Services Office (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The two heated pools open early May before the other pools, according to the RA. The tennis courts stay open year-round — weather permitting.

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New Year, New Pool: What’s in Store for RCC’s Aquatics Center

The Reston Community Center kicked off the more than $5 million renovation of the Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center today (Jan. 2).

Contractor Branch & Associates started the work today on the project, which will update the 40-year-old aquatics center with two pools.

After the final open swim time ended yesterday, the process of draining the pool began.

That process starts with neutralizing the pool water for several days to allow chlorine to dissipate before slowly draining the water, ensuring that it does not erode stream banks downstream of the pool.

“Draining the water is a controlled process to avoid overwhelming any part of the surrounding environment,” RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon who said that the team will follow strict environmental standards throughout the process.

In addition to Gordon, the project team includes Branch Project Manager Bill Ruschaupt, RCC’s Deputy Director John Blevins and Martha Sansaver, Karen Davis and Geoff Kimmel from DPWES.

Branch & Associates was selected as the contracting firm for the project after Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services opened a pre-bid qualification process in October.

RCC chose mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to create a mosaic artwork installation for the large wall areas adjacent to the pool overlook area.

Gordon said that the new artwork by Theberge — the artist behind the Glade Drive underpass and a mosaic water feature at Dogwood Pool — will “add to Reston’s wonderful public art collection.”

The renovated facility, designed by RRMM-Lukmire Architects, will include a 25-yard lap pool with zero-depth entry, a warm-water therapeutic pool, updated infrastructure systems and a new roof. It is slated to reopen in the fall.

During the construction period, Reston patrons can receive discounted rates, which are offered through RCCs’ partnership with the YMCA Fairfax County RestonReston Association and Herndon Community Center.

Renderings via Reston Community Center

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Take One Last Splash Before Work Begins on Reston Community Center’s Aquatics Center

Take one last splash in the pool at Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center before it closes for renovations.

Built in 1979, the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will undergo a more than $5 million renovation starting on Jan. 2.

The pool area is expected to reopen in October, featuring an expanded lap pool with a zero-depth entry and water play area and another pool for warm-water therapy, exercise and teaching.

During the construction period, Reston patrons can receive discounted rates, which are offered through RCCs’ partnership with the YMCA Fairfax County Reston, Reston Association and Herndon Community Center. Patrons can pick up a “Construction Pass” at RCC’s Customer Service desks to take to the partner locations and get special rates.

“The Last Splash Aquatics Renovation Party” is set for Friday (Dec. 28) from noon to 9:00 p.m. Admission is $1. The pool party will include open swimming with games and races, music, a farewell gift and a graffiti wall for locals to pen their pool goodbyes.

Rendering via Reston Community Center

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Friday Morning Notes

Family splash tonight at Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center — Drop-in for a night of family fun at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others. Groups of six or more must pre-register. [Reston Regional Library]

Off to the jungle — Reston’s Gin Dance Company has been invited to perform at the 18th DUMBO Dance Festival, a prestigious dance festival in New York City. It’s the second year the modern dance company will perform at the festival. [The Connection]

New school sexual misconduct policy — The Fairfax County School Board adopted a new policy yesterday that attempts to reform institutional cultures and address the underlying causes of sexual misconduct. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A stronger second half — The South Lakes volleyball team is looking for a stronger second half. What does that mean exactly? [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lanes reopen after fatal crash — Lanes are starting to reopen after a fatal accident in the eastbound direction of Interstate 66 happened earlier this morning. One person was killed in the crash. [WTOP]

Save the date, bookworms — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its semi-annual fall book sale on Thursday, September 27 through Sunday, September 30. [The Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

And save your pool passes, too — All adult, child, and all-season guest pool passes are renewable online, so don’t forget to keep the passes at the end of the season. Tennis, pickleball and aqua fitness passes are also renewable online. [Reston Association]

“What We Do for Love” discussion tonight at 7 p.m. — In this discussion led by Dr. Rewa Burnham of Trinity Washington University, attendees will discuss the following theme: what we do for love. Each discussion is based on an episode of the PBS show “The Great American Read.” [Reston Regional Library]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Saturday: Take Your Dog for a Swim

The dog days of summer deserve a day just for the dogs before the pool season ends.

Reston Association is hosting a Dog Paddle on Saturday in the North Hills Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

People are not permitted in the water with the dogs and a current dog license is required. In order to participate, dogs must remain under control or will be asked to leave without a refund. RA may ask specific patron or dog owners to leave.

A waiver is required on side and admission is $10 the day of the event. Participants can register in advance online via RA’s Webtrac system where tickets are $6 for RA members and $8 for all others.

Photo by Sammy Monaghan for RA

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Celebrate the Summer Season at Exo Apartments’ First Annual Pool Party

Join Exo Apartments on Wednesday, August 22nd from 4-7 p.m. and dive into summer.

Enjoy summer sips from local brewery Lake Ann Brew House. Snack on fresh baked pretzels and local food truck bites. Explore all that Exo has to offer, and snag summer essential giveaways along the way.

DJ Alkimist will be supplying the sounds of summer while you relax poolside. Swimsuits not required, but highly recommended. Grab your free ticket to the first annual pool party here!

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Reston Association to Continue Discussions on Recreational Facilities’ Cost and Usage

As the mid-year point before next year’s budget cycle approaches, Reston Association’s Board of Directors and staff will discuss how to approach a comprehensive analysis of RA’s recreational facilities.

The analysis, requested by Director Julie Bitzer in March, would be the first comprehensive examination of RA’s recreational facilities in 13 years.

Larry Butler, acting CEO and senior director of land use and planning, said the last study was done in 2005 and examined issues like cost utilization trends, usage, maintenance, repairs and suggested upgrades.

Staff recommended hiring a consultant to complete the study due to limited staff resources over the next two-to-three months and ongoing summer projects like the Hook Road working group and the lakes, docks and boats working group.

The board will hold a work session on June 5 to discuss the scope of the analysis, whether a consultant is needed to complete it and better define the goals and scope of the work.

Other recreation-related decisions may be more pressing.

Board members suggested a timely decision on the future of Lake Thoreau pool, which Director Sherri Hebert said was “falling into the lake,” was necessary. Hebert said an expenditure of $1 million is estimated to bring the aging pool up to go code. No decision on the future of that pool has been reached.

The longterm examination will guide the board’s budget decisions on replacement, repairs and upgrades to facilities.

Photo by Mike Collins

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Friday Morning Notes

A little extra planning for the weekend — Not planning to dine out? Carrabba’s Italian Grill (12192 Sunset Hills Road) is launching its own food delivery service. [Reston Patch]

And a little early planning for Easter — Frying Pan Park and Lake Fairfax Park are hosting several events in late March, including an eggspectular “Eggstravaganza.” [Fairfax County Government]

Chimney causes Reston townhouse fire — Heat escaping from gaps in a chimney caused a townhouse fire over the weekend. No injuries were reported, but damages are estimated at around $65,000.  [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

In rumor mill this week — Restonians have asked us if Reston Association plans to close Lake Thoreau. Their head spokesman says Reston Association’s staff plan to discuss details of a future demand analysis of RA pools at the board’s May 7 meeting.

(Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 9:50 a.m. to clarify the subject of discussion by RA staff at the board’s May meeting)

Flickr pool photo via vantagehill

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