Parks & Beaches hears changes to Cove Pavilion plan

Plans for the new Cove Pavilion restroom facility at Scripps Park, now in the City’s hands, have not changed much since several community reviews took place in 2014. But changes that have already been identified were discussed at the Nov. 28 La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory group meeting at La Jolla Rec Center. 

City project managers and architects from Mosher Drew presented the schematic designs, which are considered 30 percent complete, and will report again at future LJP&B meetings as updates are available. Although project managers would like to begin construction at some point in 2018, a formal timeline or pricetag could not be provided. 

LJP&B member Judy Adams Halter introduced the idea to replace The Cove restroom facility in early 2014, and started raising private funds so it could be carried out as a public-private partnership. Soon after, Halter and a sub-committee contracted architects Safdie Rabines to draft concept designs. In November 2014, the San Diego Regional Park Improvement Fund committee voted to fund the entire construction process, and dedicated at least $1.5 million for the pavilion, with the possibility of more funding coming from grants. 

Several community meetings were then held to gather community input for the facility, which Safdie Rabines incorporated into their design. Once completed, plans were handed over to the City for implementation. 

“After you all met with Safdie Rabines and came up with all your needs and desires that led to the conceptual design … the City hired Mosher Drew to handle the schematic designs and then construction. We’ve met with Safdie Rabines to make sure all the concepts are understood and we are capturing everything,” explained City Project Manager Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols. “We just completed the 30 percent design submittal, so … we’re going to take that submittal to the City’s Development Services Department to start the environmental review process and see what’s needed for this project environmentally and permit-wise, and that will dictate what else is needed for the project.”

Based on input from the City’s Department of Park & Rec, changes to the design include the facility’s orientation in the park, the amount of space dedicated to trash facilities, the removal and replacement of some of the surrounding trees, materials that would be used and aesthetic elements. 

Mosher Drew architect Bill Magnuson said, “We’ve rotated the facility slightly to assist views from the park and from Coast Boulevard. Before, you would look right into the main toilet area, the rotation minimizes that. Police can still see it for security reasons, but it is not the main view.”

Additionally, it was determined that more space would be needed for dumpsters and other trash facilities, so the amount of square footage given to the trash corral increased, and taken from an attached storage facility. 

It was also decided that to address an issue with existing trees around the facility, some would be removed and replaced. 

Schroth-Nichols said issues with the trees that made them undesirable to preserve and prompted the decision to replace them include roots that are uplifting the pavement, and an irritant to people’s skin that falls from some trees. “When it comes to demolishing the existing structure and rebuilding the new one, a substantial amount of work would have to be done to preserve the trees that are there, and it’s questionable whether they would survive the construction,” she said. “The idea is to replace them with trees that will grow and mature beautifully. That’s the direction we’ve received from Park & Rec.”

The design for the roof has not changed, and will still be a sloped “butterfly roof” that would preserve views and assist with rainwater collection, but the color of the roof materials has not been finalized. 

“We’ve selected translucent plastic panels so it has a trellis-like feel to it, but is weather protected,” Magnuson said. The plastic panels are projected to withstand the sea air, but have yet to be used on an ocean-side facility. “We haven’t used it close to the ocean, but we’ve used it on a lot of places,” he said. The panels are not reflective, so there would not be glare to surrounding residences, but he said they have “a little bit of sheen through it.” The current roofline is lower than the existing facility, and would not exceed 14 feet. 

Cable rail would also be installed between the wall and the roof to keep large birds out. 

For the facility itself, a sandstone color is proposed for the upper portion, but project managers are looking for a darker-toned concrete in the “abuse zone,” where people run their bikes into it and so on, as well as some texture, possibly a blue wave design across the bottom. A graffiti-resistant coating would be applied to keep spray paint from sticking to the walls. 

The toilet rooms are individual gender-neutral stalls, and there are larger toilet rooms that are ADA-compliant, along with ADA-accessible shower and changing rooms that could also be used by families with small children. There are also 10 outdoor showers, with six up high and four that are lower. 

Project managers have not determined which, if any, additional measures would be taken to ensure smooth plumbing, to avoid the back-up issues that caused the nearby Children’s Pool Lifeguard Tower restrooms to be closed almost immediately after they opened to the public in June. 

City project manager George Freiha said, “We haven’t reached that stage of planning yet, but we are using the current Park & Rec guidelines for comfort stations (restroom facilities). We will try to look for a different approach, maybe making bigger pipes. ... We’ve reached out to plumbers with experience on this to see what we can learn from them. But we’re going to look into that further.”

Freiha and other presenters agreed to return to future LJP&B meetings to provide updates. LJP&B will not convene in December, so the next meeting will be 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollaparksandbeaches.org

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