Reston Association Perspective

Reston Association Perspective

 
     

Pool Schedule Formed to Meet Residents' Needs and Staffing Realities

May 10 2017

By Sherri Hebert
RA Board President

As summer approaches, fond memories of carefree times at a local pool swirl in the minds of many adults. As a child, I waited anxiously for Memorial Day weekend because I knew that’s when the pool season began. My friends and I would gladly walk 2.5 miles from our neighborhood to spend the day in the water.

In Reston, however, folks of all ages do not have to wait for the traditional holiday weekend to take a dip, nor do they have to walk miles to get to a pool in the hot summer months. Reston Association manages 15 pools, many of them a stone’s throw from where residents live. By comparison, nearby Montgomery Village in Maryland operates seven pools, and like RA, utilizes a staggered schedule for the same reasons I will further explain.

Even with the long pool season and the many options offered by RA aquatics, I know there is some frustration in the community regarding pool hours, so I want to provide information that may shed light on scheduling.

The pool schedule is broken into six sessions to maximize association resources. The sessions are spread from mid-May to late September.

In session 1, our goal is to begin the season as early as possible. We are fortunate to have heated pools, which makes opening in the cooler weeks feasible.

The goal of session 2 is to have all pools open on the weekends and one pool in each district open during the week. Because school is still in session, staffing the pools during the day is challenging. RA relies heavily on high school students to fill jobs such as lifeguarding, so taking this approach to scheduling is, to a large extent, a necessity.

Session 3 is the longest session. It takes place during the main portion of the summer. Our goal is to have all 15 pools open on the weekends and as many open during the week as possible (currently a minimum of eight). The aquatics staff has given much consideration to the schedule, ensuring that when a pool is closed, another nearby pool will be open.

Would I like to see all pools open each day during this entire season? Of course, but the reality is pools are expensive to operate and to properly staff. Having said that, I have asked the Aquatics Department to provide statistics on pool usage and costs to ensure we are being good stewards of RA resources. If we can find a way to offer additional hours/days to the schedule, we will do it.

Sessions 4 and 5 are heavily impacted by college students, who are often hired to work at RA pools, heading back to school in early August. Then two weeks later, secondary public school open, which also depletes our staffing. The goal for these sessions is to maximize pool hours given the minimal staff available.

Session 6 is a bit of a bonus. While most community pools close after Labor Day weekend, Reston keeps two pools open a little longer. North Shore and Ridge Heights pools are scheduled to be open through Sept. 24 this year.

I know the schedule is not perfect. It is understandable many members, non-members and guests would like to see the pools open on more days. Your 2017-18 Board of Directors is beginning its budget cycle and we will be looking at each line item to identify ways to shift funds to meet the community's requests as they apply to pools and other matters. As we work through this process, we encourage you to continue providing budget-related suggestions. You can download a suggestion form on the RA website. Go to the budget Web page or click here to directly access a form.

I would like to wish you all a safe and fun summer at Reston’s pools, tennis courts and many other outdoor facilities.