Byron Wear, a former city councilman and program manager for the nonprofit San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation (SDJLF), introduced the project’s architect, Safdie Rabines.
Wear said the Junior Lifeguard Program currently operates out of Santa Clara Point Recreation Center, which he noted is overcrowded and inadequate for the program’s needs.
After the July 21 MBPPB meeting, Corey McClelland, president/CEO of the nonprofit SDJLF, said the idea is to make the new headquarters a “world-class facility.”
“They work out of a closet right now,” said McClelland noting better facilities are needed for the Aquatic Safety and Junior Lifeguard Center, which he noted “is an outreach program for the whole city and county of San Diego.”
McClelland said the facility is estimated to cost between $8 million and $12 million, depending on what the final plans for the facility will be. He said there is an anonymous six-figure donor, whose donation will kick-start fundraising for the new headquarters site.
The SDJLF president said plans are to make the headquarters an energy “sustainable building,” using solar panels and the like.
Discussing the project’s timetable, McClelland said, “We’re hoping that, within three years, it will be complete.” He added, “We’re committed to raising the funds and building the facility, and then turning the keys over to the city once it’s complete.”
Wear said the new Junior Lifeguard headquarters would be used intensively by the approximately 1,400 students in the program each summer, then will be repurposed for community meeting space the rest of the year. He added the new proposed facility’s observational lifeguard tower could be used as an interpretive center to educate the lifeguards in training, and the general public, as to what it means to be a lifeguard, as well as getting information to them about the ocean and how to be safe recreating in it.
From the audience, a couple of local residents questioned the size and cost of the proposed facility, pointing out they felt both were larger than what is needed to serve junior lifeguards’ needs.
Wear said they will return to the advisory group later with more fleshed-out plans for the new junior lifeguard headquarters.
In other action:
• MBPPB chair Debbie Watkins said a second workshop scheduled for Aug. 18, to discuss preliminary plans for development of park space to go along with the proposed condo conversion of the former Mission Beach Elementary School, has been postponed.
“There was such strong opposition to the developer’s proposal to have a land buffer along Mission Boulevard, that they realized that a second workshop wouldn’t be productive,” Watkins said, adding, opponents gathered about 600 signatures from local residents opposed to the project as presently construed.
• MBPPB approved plans for a condo conversion at 2719 Bayside Walk, providing developers ensure the building will stick to the 30-foot coastal height limit. Community planners however did bow to local residents, several of whom showed up with “Save The Hummingbird Tree” placards. The group supported residents’ lobbying efforts to save a popular tree on the project site from being destroyed by the redevelopment.
• The community advisory group will be dark in August and will next meet Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in Belmont Park Community Room.