Leaner, greener La Jolla Cove restroom Pavilion on its way

Although suggestions were still forthcoming regarding the new Cove Pavilion restroom project at Scripps Park, at the March 23 La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJPB) meeting, project organizer Judy Adams Halter said she is ready to turn the plans over to the city. Once the plans are in the city’s hands, the project will be put out to bid.

“We have a (community-approved) schematic plan to give the city,” said LJPB Chair Dan Allen, “and they will hire professionals and use their own resources and bring it back to us when they are ready to get started, so there will not be a lack of community input.” The project falls under the auspices of LJPB.

The pavilion plan was introduced in January 2014 and proposed as a public-private partnership. However, in November 2014, the San Diego Regional Park Improvement Fund committee voted to fund the entire construction process. The city is dedicating at least $1.5 million for the pavilion, with the possibility of more funding coming from grants.

Leading up to the city vote to fund the project, private groups in La Jolla donated money to pay for schematic designs, which were later produced by architectural firm Safdie Rabines. With plans that opened up the pavilion’s ocean views, increased the number of public facilities and were aesthetically pleasing to the committee, Safdie Rabines presented them to the community for input in June and December 2014.

In later rounds of presentations, including the December 2014 LJPB meeting and the February La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA) meeting, feedback was given that prompted further plan revisions.

The most recent version preserves an area of green considered “sacred” by SCUBA divers who use the nearby La Jolla Cove and is smaller than originally proposed. The city said its concern was, should the facility be too much larger, it might not have the resources to properly maintain it.

“We had experts in their field and the city telling us it needs to be smaller, so we asked Safdie Rabines to advise and they gave us a new design with fewer restrooms,” said Adams Halter. “They said it was the inside restrooms and the storage area that was creating the bulk, so they suggested taking out one toilet from each of the single-sex indoor restrooms and one from either side of the 10 unisex stalls.” The configuration of the storage areas was also revised.

The current, 50-year-old facility has 10 toilets in single-sex restrooms and one unisex facility, and the new restroom pavilion is proposed to have 17 toilets, predominantly in unisex stalls. The facility will also feature benches, outdoor showers, ADA-compliant toilets and showers, and storage for beach equipment.

“We’re satisfied with it and at this point we are ready to turn it over to the city,” Adams Halter said.

The pavilion committee previously considered further fundraising to hire Safdie Rabines to produce the bridging documents to ensure its plans are what actually gets built. However, the cost for such a contract would be $90,000, Adams Halter said. “It doesn’t make sense to me to raise that much when the city is willing to fund it.”

She added that she and committee member Patrick Ahern would act as liaisons between the community and the city to oversee the construction.

While there is no guarantee the city will build the pavilion according to submitted plans, Adams Halter said the city seemed favorable to building something the community would be happy with. Ahern said, “This is a key asset for the city, that’s why the city is putting up the money to build it ... so we are going to turn it over to them and be all over them to make sure it’s done right.”

In other Parks & Beaches news

S-Curve update: The final stages of the WindanSea S-Curve project would replace the staircase leading to the

beach at WindanSea and repair the rusted and deteriorating fence. The original amount needed to fund the project was privately raised, but higher-than-expected costs and permitting fees put the project behind schedule.

One proposed solution is to take excess funds from the Children’s Pool Walk project – which would repair and upgrade the sidewalk area above Children’s Pool beach – and transfer them to the WindanSea project. Once it’s determined how much more is needed for the S-Curve project, the board will consider the transfer.

Cleaning Children’s Pool: In accordance with the recent California Coastal Commission ruling that the city evaluate the quality of the water and sand at Children’s Pool beach and seek measures to improve it in five years (when the beach closure to protect it as a haul out site for pregnant and nursing harbor seals is lifted), Allen said LJPB could look at options for cleaning the beach that the city might find amenable.

Options ranged from seasonally or permanently opening the sluiceways in the sea wall to allow water at high tide to come in and flush the beach, to community beach cleanups with shovels and pails, and commissioning a beach-cleaning machine.

“It’s a list of what-ifs so we can look at the pros and cons and proceed accordingly, depending on the most favorable and practical solution,” Allen said. “We want to collect responses, so when the city opens up the discussion, we will have ideas thought out and feedback ready.”

Exchange Place reservoir parcel: The Exchange Place reservoir, located near the corner of Country Club Drive and Pepita Way, will be decommissioned and removed in 2016. Member Melinda Merryweather said she would like to see the parcel of land converted to a park. Discussion of how to do that is ongoing, and residents with feedback are encouraged to attend future meetings.

■ Next Meeting: 4 p.m. Monday, April 27 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.