La Jolla Parks and Beaches group reviews final designs for new Children’s Pool lifeguard tower
• A website for the public to review project details will be established in the near future.
• In the meantime, people with questions can call Jihad Sleiman at (619) 533-7532.
By Pat Sherman
The La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. (LJP&B) community advisory group reviewed final designs for the new lifeguard tower at the Children’s Pool during its March 25 meeting.
The designs — largely the same as those approved by both LJP&B and the La Jolla Community Planning Association — showed the color scheme and building materials for the project, which were not established at the time of previous community presentations.
The project is set to break ground in June, starting with demolition of the existing, condemned lifeguard tower. Construction will take roughly 14 months and proceed through summer. La Jolla’s community groups voted to suspend a city-mandated moratorium on summer construction to get the long-stalled project moving (only light construction work is planned during the seals’ winter pupping season).
Leading the presentation were representatives from KMA Architecture and Engineering, Stronghold Engineering and city engineer and project manager Jihad Sleiman.
Sleiman said the public would be able to access the beach during construction, though some areas may be closed for several weeks, including the seawall.
Signage will alert the public before such closures, he said.
LJP&B members praised the design and color scheme, which includes: graffiti-resistant, turquoise composite panels for the stairwell tower; anodized aluminum railings and window framing; cement-like siding which has the appearance of redwood; precast concrete and polished concrete block; a metal Bermuda-style roof atop the observation tower; and an energy-efficient, reflective roofing for the rest of the structure.
“Visually it’s very complementary,” Esther Viti said.
However, LJP&B members had some concerns, chief among them that the structure will have one less public shower than the old tower (two instead of three).
Other concerns included whether the restroom and shower for beach-goers with disabilities was fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act code (KMA’s Robb Walker assured they would be), and whether the reflective roofing would be too bright for beach-goers and lifeguards monitoring the water.
“The site and coastal development permits were approved on this basis,” Sleiman said. “We can’t make any more changes.”
LJP&B member Ken Hunrichs cautioned against precluding discussion of further changes, saying that it is easier to make changes to plans in pencil now, than to a partially completed concrete structure later.
“We’ve already got a constrained construction budget,” said Stronghold Engineering Operations Manager Patrick Walls. He added his firm would study the feasibility of replacing one of seven bathrooms with an additional shower, but the width and depth of the bathroom stalls would likely preclude that from happening.
It was also suggested that proposed metal bathroom doors be replaced with fiberglass or another, less corrodible material — one detail Sleiman said could possibly be changed.
Concerns were also raised as to whether disabled persons and emergency vehicles would be able to use a ramp leading to the beach, and to access to the beach once they were down there. Elevations presented in the designs caused several members to question whether that would be feasible.
“This project is not involved with access to the beach, only the lifeguard tower,” Sleiman said.
It was suggested by one LJP&B member that current ADA law requires beach access be provided to disabled persons.
“We’re not agreeing or disagreeing; we just can’t do anything about it (ourselves),” Robb Walker of KMA Architecture and Engineering added.
Though an environmental report on the project called for use of a wall to block construction noise, Stronghold’s Patrick Walls said the work would generate about 90 decibels and a sound wall would not likely be needed (90 decibels is slightly louder than the sound of city traffic and slightly less than some jackhammers).
“The requirement for that depends on the time of year and the conditions,” Walls said. “We won’t need a sound wall for what we’re doing, when we’re doing it.”
—The next LJP&B meeting will be 4 p.m. Monday, April 22 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.
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