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Lifeguard tower design still in limbo

La Jolla Community Planning Association has asked the city to finetune its redesign of the Children’s Pool lifeguard station before the group meets next to consider approving it.

With some opposition to the latest plan still evident, planning group members came up with a short list of improvements they want made on the proposed replacement for the existing facility. Built in the 1960s, it has been condemned and is no longer in use.

They said they want:

  • secondary access to be provided from the station to the beach.
  • designers to consider narrowing their proposed 12-foot-wide beach ramp so it will not cut so far into the coastal bluff,
  • as much landscaping as possible removed from the station’s plaza area so ocean views won’t be as obscured.

Lifeguard Lt. John Greenhalgh noted the tower redesign has been seven years in the making and will require compromises, by all parties, if it’s ever to be completed.

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“We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the community,” he said. “We’ve gone with a much smaller building so we don’t block views as much. You can’t please everybody. We have to move forward.”

Being ‘transparent’

City engineer Jihad Sleiman said they have worked to make the new Children’s Pool Lifeguard Station more “transparent,” while fulfilling all of the lifeguard’s operational needs.

Based on public input, Sleiman said the new lifeguard station is being designed to have a 270-degree observation tower, male and female locker rooms, two work stations and rescue capability from its lower level.

“Our main concern was to enhance and improve the public view space, while providing access to restrooms on the lower level,” added Sleiman.

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Sleiman also said the architectural design of the new station has addressed concerns that the new building’s footprint not exceed twice the size of the 487-square-foot existing building.

They managed to bring it down to 789 square feet of the footprint of the plaza level, he said.

LJCPA president Joe La Cava also questioned the design, saying, “I’m stunned by how much the (public) plaza has been absorbed by this project.”

Sleiman said the city would return next month with a revamped design addressing community planners questions and concerns.

He appealed to La Jollans to be patient and have faith. “We (city) want the building to be top-notch,” he said. “Please let’s have some trust.”