TWINSBURG -- Visitors to the Twinsburg Fitness Center age 13 to 15 will require parental or group supervision after 4:30 p.m., effective Dec. 21.
The new policy was presented to City Council Dec. 11 by Parks and Recreation Director Derek Schroeder, who explained that teens who come to the center after school tend to quickly run out of activities to keep them occupied. Council approval is not needed.
"After two and a half hours of doing something, there's not much else to do," Schroeder said. "That's where we get problems, when there's nothing left to do. From the members' side of it, they're overwhelmingly supportive [of the policy]."
In the past, children 12 and under have required supervision at all hours of the day, while members 16 and older do not require supervision at any time. Schroeder said these policies will remain in effect. The new policy will only concern teens between 13-15 years old, requiring them to have supervision from a parent, guardian or coach.
Jennifer Betenson, interim activities coordinator at the Fitness Center, said the need for the policy comes mainly from young students using the facility as an after-school hangout while they wait for parents to pick them up, counter to the building's intended use.
"What happens is we become their babysitting service," Betenson said. "On several occasions, I will have a student who is 13 years old clock in at 2 p.m. and he is still here until 8:35. So we're not using the facility as it's intended. The majority of them are not a problem, but in order to control the ones that are, we have to put a policy in place straight across the board."
Parents will be required to arrange for their children ages 13-15 to be picked up from the facility after 4:30 p.m., as guests of that age group will not be permitted to wait at the Subway restaurant located in the center's lobby.
"At 4:30 p.m., we will begin the process of asking that age group to leave the facility," Betenson said. "There's nowhere for them to stay from 4:30 to [when their parents can get them]. Subway runs a business here and we can't have 60 kids taking their tables and doing things that they shouldn't be doing out there as well."
Betenson said the new policy is meant to improve the experience for all patrons and visitors of the center.
"We want to be able to have patrons come in and use the facility as it's intended," Betenson said. "It's a fitness center, it's not a community center. We don't have a teen room, we don't have areas for them to hang out. We want to make it comfortable for every patron and every guest that comes in to the facility."