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LEED Follows Need
Jon Edelbrock, City of Del Mar, Lifeguard Sergeant
Photos by Jon Edelbrock

There is little question that the Del Mar Lifeguard Headquarters has served the Del Mar community and visitors well in its nearly forty-five year history. During this time, the once fledgling City has evolved from a small isolated community to one that’s surrounded by urban sprawl and sees roughly two million visitors on our beach annually. The increased demand for services along with significant weather exposure has taken a toll on the small tower down at 17th Street prompting the move to develop a new structure.

Built in 1970, the existing Lifeguard tower now functions as the offices for a Community Services staff that exceeds seventy in the summer months. Originally designed and built to support a small staff of lifeguards, the crew today now serves many functions including Parking Enforcement, Beach Maintenance, and Parks and Recreation management.

The list of inadequacies and problems with the current building is highlighted by the structural issues of the building. Each year the building must be protected from surging surf with large amounts of sand so the building won’t be undermined. Additionally, numerous cracks, termite damage, and general disrepair of the building in general are significant.

Aside from the structural issues, the utilitarian value of the building and how it serves the community is deficient on multiple levels. From an employee standpoint, ample space for storage, meetings, and conducting business safely and professionally are all challenges in the confined and archaic space.
Plans for the new Beach Safety Center have been nearly finalized and have entered the Design Review stage seeking approval. While there are numerous enhancements and changes to the prior re-development plans, the new facility will have the same footprint, an overall lower roof line, and is slightly scaled down from the previous iteration.

Improvements over the existing building are numerous and include an overall emphasis on a clean functional design enhanced by being the first LEED certified public facility in the City of Del Mar. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building-rating system that is achieved by including design elements such as dual-glazed Low-E windows and Photovoltaic panels; both of which are included in the proposed design.

Significant efforts have been ongoing to get the new Beach Safety Center built. Local community group Friends of the Powerhouse along with other community members have held many fundraisers and continue to do so to help get toward the 2.8 million dollar price tag. The current price may become lower according to local developer Howard Gad. Howard noted “Now is the time to get the financing together to get this built. Construction prices are approximately 20% lower than just a few years ago which could fare well for costs associated with this structure."

The current Lifeguard headquarters has served our community well over the years. The increasing demand on local government, costs of maintaining the structure, and inadequacies for city employees and serving the people, are all significant reasons to work toward re-development. Let’s promote the value of our beach and public space and get this place built!

Click here for more about the Lifeguard Tower Project, and to see an architect's rendering of the new Lifeguard Tower.




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