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The latest installation is inspired by Reston’s rapid growth (via SLHS STEAM Team)

Rise, the ninth art installation by South Lakes High School’s STEAM team, will bring a set of high-rises to Lake Thoreau’s spillway.

At a meeting before Reston Association’s Design Review Board on Tuesday (Jan. 17), students said the new concept is inspired by the growth of Reston’s population and emergence of high-rise construction — an ode to the community’s goals of “reaching new heights in progress, innovation and diversity.”

The project, which is currently in the planning phase, includes rectangular shapes with different colors, levels and sizes, representing the different layers of Reston’s community. Here’s from the STEAM team on the inspiration of the sculpture:

Our community is host to a colorful combination of nationalities, sexualities, and cultures, all of which complement one another and ensure prosperity. The variety of colors and rising levels showcased by our sculpture are meant to depict these groups which build upon one another, helping our community reach its aspirations and Rise above any barriers we may face. This sculpture, symbolic of our love for this city, illustrates Robert E. Simon’s actualization of a town “closer to hearts desire” of its residents

The model — which is the team’s tallest project to date — is made of tinted plastic, while the white sections will be covered with designs inspired by public art around Reston.

The team plans to make the frame out of smaller cubic units to separate the building. The blocks will be connected by bolts and brackets to cluster the buildings, and extra braces will support the structure.

Materials for the project include lumber, disband paneling, strata class, solar panels and cables.

The team raised roughly $6,000 to complete the project, largely through crafting at a local event, an exhibition at a local restaurant, and calendar sales.

Students plan to begin fabricating the model in February, with installation expected sometime in May or June, according to presentation materials.

Unlike previous years, the team hopes to complete installation before the end of the school year, SLHS student Sophia Pakhom said.

In response to a concern about possible light pollution, DRB chair Michael Wood noted that light spillage is going to be “pretty minimal.”

However, he encouraged the team to paint the wooden base white to avoid detracting from the rest of the design.

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The Lake Thoreau renovation project is on track for opening this year (via Reston Association)

A substantial renovation to Reston’s Lake Thoreau pool is 25% complete, putting the multi-million dollar project on track for opening by the 2023 pool season.

Demolition, regrading and structural support for the elevated deck are officially complete, according to Chris Schumaker, Reston Association’s capital projects director. At a Dec. 15 board meeting, Schumaker said the planned addition to the bathhouse will begin shortly after the New Year.

“We’re currently holding on schedule and anticipate opening sometime during the 2023 pool season,” he said.

Fine grading, structural steel work and concrete work is in progress for the pool basin, he told the board.

The project could see delays due to weather impacts — but currently no delays are anticipated.

On-site work at 2040 Upper Lake Drive began over the summer. The facility has been closed since 2020 for the renovation project, which was first set to break ground in the fall of 2021.

The renovated facility will include six lap lanes and a ramp to provide ADA access, a redesigned deck, a larger 25-space parking lot, an overlook with a pollinated garden, and expanded bathhouses.

The project is expected to cost roughly $3.5 million.

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The Lake Thoreau pool in Reston has been reduced to a dirt ditch at the corner of Sunrise Valley and Upper Lake drives, paving the way for a full renovation of the facility.

On-site work at 2040 Upper Lake Drive began over the summer. The pool has now been completely demolished, including the pool shell and concrete deck, according to the latest update from Reston Association.

“The spa is completely gone from here, and the wading pool is gone from up top. All that material has been brought off site, and now, we’re on the recreating process,” RA Capital Projects Manager Austin Mayhugh said in the video posted last Friday (Sept. 30).

Now, the crew from contractor Hubert Construction is preparing to install caissons to serve as the foundation for the pool’s new wooden deck, which will overlook Lake Thoreau, Mayhugh said.

Other construction activities on the horizon include laying a new stormwater pipe that will go under the parking lot, followed by pouring for new retaining walls around the site.

Going forward, the contractors will generally be working from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to Mayhugh. RA still estimates that construction will take about a year, projecting a potential opening in summer 2023.

“In the next coming months, we anticipate machinery still coming through the site, which will make noise,” Mayhugh said. “We appreciate your patience, and we can’t wait to see this wonderful new facility open up this summer.”

Lake Thoreau’s pool has been closed since 2020 for the renovation project, which was originally scheduled to break ground last fall.

The new facility will have a pool with six lap lanes and a ramp to provide ADA access, a redesigned deck, a larger 25-space parking lot, an overlook with a pollinator garden, and expanded bathhouses, which have been moved away from the spa.

According to RA, the overall project carries an estimated cost of $3.5 million, which hasn’t changed despite inflation and supply challenges affecting the construction industry in recent months.

“It is possible that at some future date that could change due to inflation or other factors, but at the present time, that is not the case,” RA spokesperson Mike Leone told FFXnow.

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Renovations are expected to begin over the next few weeks (via Reston Association)

County and local officials have given Reston Association the green light to begin construction on the new Lake Thoreau pool, the organization says.

The work will begin in the next few weeks, moving forward after it took seven months for officials to approve permits for the renovation.

RA is working with Hubert Construction to complete the one-year project. A new bathhouse, pool structure, retaining walls, sidewalks, fencing, parking lot and deck will be constructed.

RA originally hoped a groundbreaking would take place in the winter of 2021 and permits would be available in late February or early March. But the timeline was pushed back due to “extended contract and negotiations that overlapped with the holiday season,” according to RA. The association is still aiming for a 2023 opening.

Construction will take place on weekdays only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The parking lot will be closed and a detour area will be established.

Here’s more from RA on the breakdown of the project timeline:

Following site security, heavy machinery will be brought in to perform selective demolition and site grading. This phase is anticipated to take two to three months. Following selective demolition, installation of structural elements including retaining wall foundations, concrete piers and stormwater pipes will occur. This phase is anticipated to take three to four months. Following the structural elements phase, installation of the new pool basins and deck, parking lot, retaining walls, sidewalks, fencing, and bathhouse addition will commence.

This phase is anticipated to take five to six months and will conclude major construction and mark substantial completion of the project. Final clean up, inspections close out and punch list fulfillment by Hubert will occur before RA takes control of the facility. At that point RA will complete installations related to public art and maintenance equipment.  A preconstruction notification mailer will be sent to all nearby property owners two weeks in advance of mobilization.

RA intends to post periodic updates on its website.

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A major Hydrilla bloom prompted water restrictions in 2020

Reston Association is urging residents to avoid using water from Lake Thoreau for irrigation until mid-October.

The guidance comes after Aquatic Environment Consultants treated Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic species, on the water. Conducted monthly and typically around the middle of the month, treatments will continue throughout the summer to maintain low levels of herbicide in the water.

The company was contracted to treat Hydrilla when it became a “nuisance” two years ago, according to Ben Rhoades, RA’s watershed manager.

“There are no use restriction associated with the herbicide, Fluridone, other than irrigation,” Rhoades wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

In 2020, RA encouraged residents to avoid contact with the lake after a major algae bloom took over the surface of the lake. The incident piqued conversations about RA’s maintenance of its lakes and the most appropriate timing of lake treatment to avoid similar issues in the future.

The bloom was later ruled non-toxic.

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The groundbreaking of Reston Association’s Lake Thoreau pool renovations project has been delayed (via RA)

Two Reston pool projects are facing some delays.

The Ridge Heights Pool will open two weeks later than anticipated.

In a statement released Friday (April 29), Reston Association said the delay was prompted by “continuing supply chain delays and manufacturing shortages that have slowed repairs to the facility.”

Repairs include re-plastering of the previous pool surface layers, tile line and in-pool tile replacement, and coping stone replacement on the main and wading pools.

The pool will now open on May 28 instead of May 14. Lake Audubon Pool will open on May 14, along with the heated pool at North Shore.

RA noted that the scheduled opening is “pending supply and contractor availability and weather conditions.”

Raw materials like aggregate and binders are in high demand and short supply, according to Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director. RA has been waiting several months for coping stones.

“RA is doing everything within its control to complete the Ridge Heights pool for a May 28 opening,” RA’s spokesperson Mike Leone told FFXnow.

RA has also delayed the groundbreaking of Lake Thoreau pool’s renovation to May. The $3.5 million project had an anticipated groundbreaking of October or November.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a more specific date. We are focused on a 2023 Memorial Day Weekend opening but it will be tight,” Leone said.

The opening timeframe could be pushed back if permitting delays continue. RA is currently working through the remaining county permits required for the project to proceed.

Key design elements of the renovation include ADA access with a ramp into the pool, a redesign of the overlook deck, pool reconstruction, expansion of the parking lot, and repositioning of the spa away from the bathhouses as well as modifying and expansion of said bathhouses.

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This year’s Lake Thoreau art project includes two floating heads, based on early mock-ups (via Reston Association)

Two heads with a complex web of activity spilling about them will float on the Lake Thoreau spillway in Reston sometime this year.

Students from South Lakes High School’s STEAM team have prepared designs for their yearly project under the supervision of SLHS art teacher and sponsor Marco Rando.

This year, two heads — representing the right and left sides of the brain — will be strung together using several reflective cords. The sculpture would be tied down with aircraft cable, as has typically been done with previous installations.

The 9-foot-tall sculpture aims to reflect the brain’s role as a “superintelligent force” that powers the body and displays the brain’s synergetic functions, challenging the idea of individuals simply being left-brained or right-brained.

“Our sculpture will be recognizing the beauty and the complexity of the human brain,” said Sophia Pick, a SLHS student.

Evening lights will be hidden inside platform boxes. The two contrasting faces of the sides of the brain will be connected with wooden beams and a web of neurons made out of paracord — a design that aims to reflect the interconnectivity of the brain.

The sculpture takes inspiration from the Moire effect, a method using dots or lines that creates illusions. The effect would be incorporated into the wire mesh of the sculpture.

Students from the club presented the project to Reston Association’s Design Review Board on April 19.

The board unanimously approved the application after seeking clarification on how the project would be anchored for stability.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing this out there,” said member James Lozoskie.

Rando noted that the club got off to a “slow start” due to the transition from virtual to in-person learning, but have made good progress so far. Students have been working on the project since the beginning of the school year.

He did not immediately indicate the cost of the project and the expected date of installation.

This year, several community sponsors — including Red’s Table, Public Art Reston, and Mary and David Prochnow — helped raised funds for the project.

Students hope to display detailed artwork on panels essentially made of an aluminum composite — a feature they said was possible because significant funds were raised for the project.

The team has been designing temporary public art sculptures for the spillway for several years, including “Pyramid of Light” (2014), “Nothing Twice” (2015) and “Simon” (2016).

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Public art featuring bird houses is planned at the renovated pool (Photo via handout/Reston Association)

Bird houses are set to breathe more life into Lake Thoreau pool as the aging facility undergoes major renovations.

Reston Association and Public Art Reston are asking Restonians to submit proposals for bird houses through a grassroots beautification project.

Plans call for five birdhouses to remain as part of a permanent public art installation that RA says will “add visual distinction to the site and attract our feathered friends to nest above an L-shaped pollinator garden adjacent to the pool parking lot.”

Reston has no other birdhouse public art installation, according to Larry Butler, RA’s acting CEO.

“As lakes and lakeside environments are teeming with insects, it is a good location for birds to raise a family. The pathway and pool users alike will be able to enjoy the installation year-round,” Butler wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

The call for proposals is open to Reston residents only. Group submissions will be accepted and up to $250 for each house will be covered by the organizations.

Public Art Reston, which is facilitating the project, will help RA select the five artisan-designed birdhouses for the project.

“We’re looking forward to partnering with RA on this project and particularly the opportunity to elevate Reston creatives by soliciting homegrown public art to enhance and add visual distinction to a local amenity that is also bird-friendly,” said Phoebe Avery, Public Art Reston’s public art manager.

Design proposals are due by May 26, with installation expected by March 2o23. The pool is expected to open that summer. Application requirements and procedures are available online.

The renovated pool — a roughly $3.5 million undertaking — is slated to open for the 2023 pool season.

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