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Lake Thoreau Pool Project

Lake Thoreau Pool Project

Lake Thoreau Pool Project Meeting March 26 - Delayed Due to COVID-19

When: TBD
Where: Reston Association Conference Center, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive.
Why: RA’s planning and design consultant, Kimley-Horn, will present the design use and concept ideas that came out of the community session on Feb. 11. Attendees will have the opportunity to review and discuss the concepts presented.


Reston Association’s Board of Directors has approved as part of the 2020/21 capital budget funds to begin the engineering and community engagement process to re-imagine Lake Thoreau Pool (pictured above when it first opened in 1981). This follows a presentation given at the Oct. 24, 2019 regular board meeting from RA’s Capital Projects team regarding a recent Terracon Consultants structural engineering assessment of the facility.

The Terracon report discovered various structural problems with the Lake Thoreau pool. Some of the findings include potential safety issues such as deteriorating timber retaining walls that support the entire East side of the facility. There are also structural cracks in the pool shell and concrete deck. Details on the report can be found in the important documents section of this web page. 

Because the timber retaining walls do not currently meet Fairfax County safety guidelines,  Lake Thoreau pool will be closed while a renovation plan is developed and implemented. 

Updates on the Lake Thoreau pool project will be posted here and through other RA communications channels. Below is a link to the Community Information Session Meeting video on the Lake Thoreau Pool Project. 

Feb. 11, 2020 Community Information Session

Nov. 4, 2019 Community Meeting Presentation


Lake Thoreau Pool has been and will continue to be a Reston Association amenity.

In 2005, as part of the Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan, a 10-year facility plan for the pools was created. As the useful life of many components of facilities were coming to an end, the facilities were reimagined through community input sessions, design architects, and staff to bring new amenities for members to enjoy. These efforts brought renovations that included Uplands, Hunters Woods, Glade and concluded in 2013 with the Dogwood Pool. Post renovation, usage increased and was maintained at a higher level than in previous years with the original facility configuration.

While there is no RA facility master plan, it is Lake Thoreau Pool’s turn. The useful life of many components has come to an end and need repair or replacement according to the 2014 and 2019 Reserve Studies. In 2016, an annual site inspection conducted by staff identified several potential issues including deteriorating conditions at the retaining wall, growing cracks in the pool shell, and visual movement of deck slabs.

In 2017, the RA Capital Projects Department hired Dewberry Consultants to perform a visual and facility record study of the pool, focusing on the walls and shell. Dewberry’s recommendations included additional testing of the site as well as an immediate identification of the east retaining wall needing replacement “in the relatively near future (1-2 years maximum).”

In December of 2018, RA staff requested the allocation of funds to perform a temporary structural repair on the pool shell prior to the 2019 pool season. In March of 2019, the repairs were performed as a “Band Aid” to keep the facility open for the 2019 season. Knowing this was not a permanent solution, follow-up evaluation was conducted by Terracon and Kimley Horn, using guidance and suggestions from the Dewberry report, to complete the analysis of the Lake Thoreau Pool retaining wall, deck, and pool shell.

Findings from the Terracon/Kimley Horn report concluded that the Lake Thoreau Pool has been experiencing cracking in the pool shell and on the pool deck in various locations as a result of a moving timber retaining wall that has experienced general deterioration after nearly 40 years of service. Based on their evaluation as well as Fairfax County safety standards for retaining walls, they concluded that the existing timber retaining walls should be replaced/remediated and thus, the facility should not operate in its current condition until the retaining wall is replaced.

In light of the report’s findings, the cost of performing one-off repairs rather than taking a holistic approach, and noting the lack of ADA compliance, the board voted in October 2019 to include $350,000 for Lake Thoreau in the 2020 capital budget for facility planning to include a landscape architect to facilitate a community engagement process, architecture and engineering.

Reston Association, along with its planning and design consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates, has announced the first public meeting about the Lake Thoreau Pool project. Kimley-Horn has been retained to provide engineering and landscape architecture services, and to lead the design process. The first meeting will be at the RA headquarters’ conference center on Tuesday Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Kimley-Horn will share its findings from the site analysis – the opportunities and constraints of the 39-year-old pool and the site upon which it sits.

The next meeting regarding the Lake Thoreau Pool project will be held Thursday March 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Reston Association Conference Center. RA’s planning and design consultant, Kimley-Horn, will present the design use and concept ideas that came out of the community session on Feb. 11. Attendees will have the opportunity to review and discuss the concepts presented.

Also, at this meeting RA members will get the opportunity to share their vision of what the pool could look like in the future. Contact Larry Butler at

For questions about the Lake Thoreau Pool project, email