Scripps Park Pavilion problems being addressed, including privacy barrier for changing rooms

Scripps Park Pavilion is in the park area overlooking La Jolla Cove.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Problems that residents cited after the recent opening of the Scripps Park Pavilion restroom facility are being addressed, though others have since come up, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board heard during its Feb. 28 meeting.

The board also took up an in-development “picnic grove” and a conceptual “side-scape” plan for the sidewalks that feed to the park.

Scripps Park Pavilion

Immediately after its soft opening with little fanfare in January, a list of problems emerged with the long-awaited “comfort station,” including drainage, privacy and other issues.

A list of problems with the new restroom facility is reported to the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board.

Jan. 26, 2022

Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, told LJP&B that LaCava’s office is “continuing to monitor the button-up work at the Scripps restroom facility and will continue to push that so staff can do the things they recognize need to be done.”

LJP&B President Bob Evans said “one of the most important issues that is getting addressed is a privacy barrier that is being installed so you cannot see in the men’s and women’s changing rooms. These are panels of the same material and color that are being installed on the interior of the walls.” He said he expects them to be in place “sooner rather than later.”

However, some other problems have arisen as well.

“What is unfortunate is that it is getting its welcome to today’s real world in that there are homeless [people] making the rooms there their overnight quarters [and] are being removed in the morning by beach users,” Evans said. “That is happening nightly.”

He added that the building has been subjected to graffiti, though it has been cleaned up quickly.

Diver and LJP&B board member John Shannon observed that water runoff is causing “swampiness” in the grassy area at the pavilion and that a “foul odor” is coming from the showers. “It appears the drains are belching forth sewer gas,” he said. He added that he has noticed it two or three times.

The pavilion project, which was introduced in January 2014, demolished a former comfort station and added the new facility, which includes the showers and changing rooms, more toilets, unisex toilet stalls, storage space and more.

“The building continues to shine and it looks great down there; it’s being used by swimmers and tourists and divers,” Evans said. “Everyone I talk to thinks it is architecturally unique and beautiful and a real jewel.”

A grand opening is planned once the issues are resolved.

In the meantime, LJP&B voted to fund installation of a plaque thanking the La Jolla Cove Swim Club, Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, La Jolla Rotary Club, La Jolla Sunrise Rotary, La Jolla Bridge Club, the city of San Diego and La Jolla Parks & Beaches, board member Patrick Ahern said. The community organizations provided the funding for the pavilion’s schematic designs in the early stages. The city and LJP&B helped shepherd the project forward.

Picnic grove

Despite a series of changes, plans for a Scripps Park picnic grove are moving along, Ahern said.

The project would renovate a current picnic area to make it more accessible to people in wheelchairs, improve the seating area, replace the ground cover and make other improvements.

This picnic area in Scripps Park could be renovated to become a "picnic grove."

In recent months, LJP&B members met with city staff to discuss the scope of the project and procedures for applying for a right-of-entry permit to perform the work. Though the city is requiring a right-of-entry permit, it is waiving the permit fees, Ahern said.

The total timeline is about eight months, including design initiation, contractor selection and approval, right-of-entry permitting and construction. The design initiation began in early January.

Funding for the project has come largely from a private donor, but “LJP&B most likely will have to raise additional funds to cover construction costs due to inflation and any other unforeseen conditions,” Ahern said.


A project is moving forward to add vegetation to the inlets along certain sidewalks overlooking the coast that are sometimes littered with trash. Evans has met with local landscape architects to discuss what is feasible for the side-scapes.

“We’ve talked about possible plant types that are natural and common to the area, with low water needs that provide color and beauty,” he said. “We are also talking about irrigation options.”

Evans said he would come forward with plant recommendations, a proposed cost, a right-of-entry permit application, a timeline and final designs at a future LJP&B meeting.

“We are also talking about selecting a few sites to do some initial planting for a proof of concept,” he said. Early ideas include planting vegetation similar to that that lines the nearby Casa de Mañana retirement community.

Next meeting: La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, March 28, likely online. Learn more at ◆