By Trey Lee
Justin Anderson is the Aquatic Facility and Program Manager for North Grounds Recreation Center (NGRC). The aquatic center includes the pool (25 yards x 25 meters, 10 lanes), the sauna and hot tub. He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce and went on to get his masters at Western Kentucky University. He isn’t a born and raised Virginian, but his wife is, making the decision to manage this great new expansion at NGRC even better!
Q: Tell us about the expansion details. Obviously there’s a new pool here, but what else is included?
A: Here at NGRC, the new addition begins just past the original locker rooms downstairs, where the new cycle room is located. If you come upstairs, there is a wet classroom which has the ability to host certifications through the American Red Cross for our instructors, CPR for lifeguards, even SCUBA instruction. When you come around the corner in the hallway there’s a multipurpose room that hosts Drop-in Group Exercise classes and is an open functional space for members to use on their own as part of their fitness routine. A little farther down the hall, we have two international singles squash courts that are unique on Grounds. And then we have the pool facility with two new locker rooms.
Q: I recently attended Erica Perkins’ Cycle-45 class in which she incorporated pictures from the Sochi Winter Olympics. I thought that was a great usage of media and technology into the classes, exercises, and help promote health and fitness. Are you applying such methods anywhere else and do you see where that’s heading?
A: In the wet classrooms, we have the capability of streaming Apple TV allowing us to utilize video in a classroom setting, so students can have the practical in front of them in addition to listening to an instructor. They practice as they watch and the instructors step in with the Apple TV modules, making it more of an interactive classroom. As opposed to an instructor lecturing and mimicking what the instructors doing, they [the participants] now have the actual scenario on the Apple TV. We are able to stream the music you hear on the pool deck continuously from iTunes radio or Pandora. We have positive feedback from our patrons saying that the music is great because we’re able to change it whenever we want to instead of it being stuck on a loop and hearing the same songs over and over.
Q: What part of the expansion do you think is attracting the most students?
A: We’ve had a lot of usage of the pool. People were really excited that we have a new body of water on Grounds since the varsity swim and dive program uses the pool at the AFC quite a bit. This facility is open from 6 am to 9:30 pm Monday-Thursday; Friday 6 am to 8 pm; Saturday 9 am to 5 pm; and Sunday 12 pm to 8 pm. With these hours, there is minimal interruption of lap swim or programming. We’re always able to accommodate programming from private swim lessons to varsity team promotions. We also have an additional sauna and whirlpool, so we’re able to offer the same amenities as the AFC, just on a different part of Grounds.
Q: Why do you think the expansion was necessary?
A: The expansion was necessary because the four recreation facilities only included one pool, which was the main attraction. Additional space was needed because there are a lot of lap swimmers and there wasn’t enough open recreation time available to accommodate them. Programs are ever expanding, and there was a need for more functional space for group fitness classes, instructional programming, and providing more of a wellness and fitness environment for members on North Grounds. Instead of having to travel all the way over to central Grounds to go to Mem Gym, AFC, or Slaughter Rec, they have everything they need at NGRC.
Q: What do you think about NGRC’s pool being the only body of water open over Spring Break and what other activities do you think students will do on Grounds?
A: I think that the numbers will definitely increase over the break considering that we’re the only aquatic space open on Grounds during this time. I think that the students, if the weather continues the way it’s going, will enjoy the sauna and the hot tub more because it is a little cooler. With Spring Break coming off of single digit nights, low double digit mornings, and a snow day that’s probably what they’ll utilize the most. We have a significant lap swimmer population and ten open lanes so they will come!
Q: What is your favorite part about your position?
A: I really enjoy working with my student staff. Getting to know them as individuals, knowing their strengths, where they come from, and academically and how that fits into their role here as a lifeguard. Also, I enjoy providing learning opportunities for the student staff that can play an important role in making them striving citizens within the UVA community or wherever they go after this. Working with the students and knowing that they’re here for the right reasons: they love lifeguarding.
I love the youth swim program, seeing the smile on little kids’ faces as they learn how to swim is fantastic! Seeing students that have been trained by us as professionals, implement their teaching styles, how they interact with children and seeing that in full effect with the child as they learn how to swim—you can’t beat that.
Facility-wise, we have a great team at North Grounds in Chris Maslaney, the Facility Manager, Emily Forch and Joe McDuffie, Assistant Facility Managers. I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with. We will do anything for any patron that utilizes the facility (within reason obviously) to make their experience that more enjoyable.
Q: What is one thing that you would change about IM-Rec Sports?
A: I am a huge proponent of student-staff development. As professionals, we need to provide as many opportunities for our students to not only grow within the workplace, but outside as well. Being able to collaborate with my colleagues to provide such opportunities would be one addition to the already excelling program that I would add.
Trey Lee is a second-year student in the Engineering School. His best times at UVA have been his involvements in IM-Rec Sports. He aims to keep people informed and excited about all UVA has to offer.