The rebuild project, which has endured a confusing and messy bid process and then a botched reopening date in late May for the Memorial Day weekend, culminated July 2 when District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer — flanked by community leaders and city representatives — officially cut the ceremonial ribbon to signal the facility’s rebirth.
The nearly $1.2 million, custom-built comfort station has opened to early raves from observers, who applauded the locally-designed architecture and the facility’s ceiling that is covered in Ocean Beach-inspired art. The facility also features three showers, six toilets and bike racks.
Among those obviously pleased with the final result was Faulconer himself.
“Today. we officially open a new restroom and shower facility that will make it easier for families, residents and visitors to enjoy the beach,” said Faulconer. “Completed in time for the Fourth of July holiday, this unique building was designed to make washing up after a day at the beach simple and comfortable.”
The new facility now stands on the site of the one demolished three years ago because of health and safety concerns. The original comfort station was estimated to be about 50 years old.
Since the demolition, residents and visitors to the Dog Beach area have been forced to a series of less-than-ideal portable restrooms.
Faulconer said the city went to great lengths to replace the previous restrooms with a new facility that incorporates the distinctive character of Ocean Beach for the convenience of locals and visitors alike.
Here are some of the unique design features incorporated into the new comfort station, as provided by Faulconer’s office:
• Solar panels to generate energy for the facility.
• A thin, cantilevered roof evocative of a bird’s wing in flight, invoking the popular O.B. “flying seagull” emblem.
• A water fountain and three easily accessible exterior showers with a privacy wall, which will be useful for parents helping young children wash off sand.
• The letters “OB” carved into the west wall.
• A creative geometric shape without a single 90-degree angle along the entire wall — a slightly skewed design to reflect the unusual rotation of the Ocean Beach street grid.
• Six bicycle racks to accommodate locals’ preferred form of transportation.
• Design concept by local firm Kevin deFreitas Architects and artwork by former Ocean Beach resident Shinpei Takeda that covers the entire roof and can be experienced without ever entering the structure. The art depicts the Ocean Beach shoreline when it once hosted the Wonderland Amusement Park, which opened July 4, 1913 — 99 years ago last week. The text that overlaps the image incorporates stories from Ocean Beach past and present, and quotes from famous authors for whom local streets are named, like Froude and Voltaire.