La Jolla Cove lifeguard tower construction underway

By Ashley Mackin

The construction process officially began on the La Jolla Cove lifeguard tower Feb. 16, when lifeguards stationed there were moved to a temporary station and the 34-year-old, 30-square-foot, wood-framed lifeguard tower and 144-square-foot support station were prepped for demolition.

In late March, the facility was torn down and construction on the new tower began. The new tower will be 80 square feet with a steel frame and wood siding on a concrete cantilevered base. The $1.85 million cost is being funded through the use of deferred capital bonds and development impact fees. An access ramp to the mid-level landing overlooking the Cove will be installed. In addition, new benches will be added at the mid-level area with storage cubbies for swimmers. Construction is expected to be complete by March 2015.

At a recent La Jolla Shores Association meeting, Lifeguard Lieutenant Rich Stropky said extra effort would be taken to ensure the distorted views during certain times of the day caused by the angle and type of glass used at the new La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower would not occur at the new Cove lifeguard tower.

“The positioning of the (Cove lifeguard) tower and the angle it faces is different from the angle and direction of the Shores tower, therefore lifeguards will not come across the same issue,” he said. “But construction will not start without a mock-up just to make sure it’s not duplicated.” The visibility issues create “ghost images” of people appearing to be on one side of the beach when they are actually at another.

Stropky added that construction crews are coming across “surprises,” such as more concrete under the tower’s base than expected and the bottleneck from having only one staircase leading down to the beach. There were formerly three staircases, including one just for lifeguards. However, these are not perceived as hindrances to the schedule, he said.