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Plans for beach safety center move forward

DEL MAR — After accepting a $160,000 donation from the Friends of the Powerhouse at its Jan. 24 meeting, City Council authorized an agreement for the final design of a new beach safety center and lifeguard station, a project that has been on the city’s radar for nearly a decade.
The city issued a request for proposal in December for design development, construction documents, sea wall design and civil engineering services to replace the aging 17th Street safety center.
Jeff Katz Architecture was selected from the 11 bids received based on the
firm’s technical competency, detailed proposal package and project schedule, experience with public safety facilities and history of infrequently requesting change orders, according to the staff report.
The city’s original lifeguard tower was built by hand in 1964 by the head lifeguard with help from the fire chief. Nearly five decades later, the facility has structural cracks, a cramped room that serves as both an administrative meeting room and first aid station and a ladder that provides access to the second floor where citations are paid.
The shower and locker room are used by men and women and the restroom is not compliant with federal disability laws.
The new 2,644-square-foot facility will feature a 753-square-foot first floor lifeguard space, second floor administrative offices, new restrooms and a garage area.
The estimated cost for design development and construction documents is $180,000. In addition to the $160,000 raised by Friends of the Powerhouse, the city is providing $50,000. The remaining funds will be used for the soils report and contingency expenses, taking the project up to the construction phase.
Total project cost is estimated to be between $2.7 million and $3 million. Friends of the Powerhouse holds a variety of annual fundraisers, including a live auction each summer and the upcoming casino night Feb. 5 at the Powerhouse Community Center.
“After casino night, we’re hoping we’ll have even more money to give you,” Barbara Harper, chairwoman of Friends of the Powerhouse, said. “The sooner you can get this rolling the better.”
Funding for the project was also helped by the recent $4.4 million sale of a city-owned lot on Balboa Avenue. While most of those funds were used to retire the debt on the Shores property the city purchased in 2008, about $500,000 was earmarked after the sale for the new safety center.
“I’m excited and looking forward to working with the council, city staff and Friends of the Powerhouse on this exciting project,” Katz said. “I know that it’s something you have been working on for quite a while and we hope to be able to step in and seamlessly move this project forward and allow you to get ready to start construction.”
Council voted unanimously to award the contract to Katz and accept the donation.
“Does anyone want to turn down a check for $160,000?” Mayor Don Mosier asked.

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